the pie | chicken + veg pot pie part 3

I'm not gonna lie to you, we are definitely not eating this pie this Sunday for Father's Day.

Not because it's not amazingly delicious, but because we've already been eating it for months and months making sure we got it just right. Lol - John has even been kindly chipping away at the last of the leftovers kept in the freezer every day this week for lunch. 

On our hike that we took this past weekend I joked and said, "So, for Father's Day, I'm thinking, chicken + veg pot pie for dinner?" :) 

In all honestly I think we're going out for burritos for FD because I've worked so hard on recipes that I can't wait to share on here (like this pie!) that I just don't want to cook on Sunday. 

That's the thing with food blogging. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. SO MUCH RECIPE TESTING. That when it comes time for me to actually make a meal for my little family I put my hands up in the air and ask (beg) John if he can grab something on the way home from Trader Joe's. 

I think we've gotten to the point where I have to ask myself, "How many times do I want to eat this?" before I consider recipe developing. It's awesome. And fun. And I love it and I LOVE this pie and John loves it too and I've served it to a lot of people - and every time I've gotten enthusiastic "seconds please" from all. So! Now that I've talked it up a ton, let's dive in. 

Here's the thing about this pie. It takes a little time. All good food does. But then let's slap pie into the "really good food" equation and it takes a teeny bit of extra work to get there - but I promise - I'm gonna try to save you as much time as possible with this timeline AND I also promise it's stinking WORTH the effort or I wouldn't have eaten it at least 10 times. 

Chicken + Veg Pot Pie Timeline: 

1-3 days before:

1. Make your brisée dough, tightly wrap it, and store it in the fridge. 

2. Roast your chicken. tip: You can even just buy a pre-roasted chicken from your favorite source if you'd rather save time that way. 

3. Chop 1 whole breast of your roasted chicken, skin removed and store it in the fridge. 

1 day before or morning of: 

4. Chop all your veggies and measure them out into containers / little baggies so you don't have to measure them again. You can even go as far as to make the entire veggie filling AND sauce a day ahead of time and store it, combined, in the fridge until the next day. Just bring it to room temperature before baking it in the pie. tip: I even chop more veggies than I need and use them in meals for the following week. I especially find good use for the extra leeks, kale and spinach.  

day of: 

5. Measure all ingredients for the sauce and set aside. They need to be at room temp anyway. 

6. Get out two pots and have them ready on the stove: one really large one for cooking all your veggies and another medium sized one for cooking your sauce. 

If you do these tips, I swear, making this pie is 1,000 times easier. You can even make this entire pie and store it in the freezer unbaked, until you want an impressive dinner on the fly. (see more on this in the baker's note)

Happy Father's Day! Dad, you're the best dad. Really. You taught me to dream big and to believe in myself. You also taught me to love all smoothies and baked goods, including but not limited to: hot blueberry muffins, bran muffins with weird toppings and slightly under-baked cinnamon rolls.  And John, you're the best dad to our sweet boy, I love how much he loves you (even though he still loves me more! ;) I love you both, but this Sunday, don't count on pie. 

Happy weekend to you friends. xo 

chicken + veg pot pie

makes one large, overstuffed 10-inch pie, serving 6-8 people

robyn holland | sweetish.co, inspired by Little Flower Bakery

I include spinach and more peas as extra ingredients to replace the chicken here for you vegetarian friends. These extra portions of veggies actually work really great in the chicken version of the pie too - it just makes for a less saucy pie and a more veg-packed one. In fact, I shot this pie several times and the version you see on here, is just that version: the chicken with extra veg. I honestly love all versions, but the straight up chicken one without the spinach may be my fave just because it feels naughty but still slightly virtuous. The veg-packed one makes me feel like a good green loving lady and the extra veg + chicken one is just the best of both worlds.

bakers notes: When measuring the spinach, I measure it already chopped. To freeze: Freeze the entire pie unbaked without the egg wash, tightly wrapped for up to 3 months. To bake: just take it straight from the freezer and bake at 375°F / 190°C  Keep in mind that when I do this it takes me 2-3 hours to fully bake the pie. I don't know if this is a mountain thing yet, but I end up tenting the pie in foil and continue cooking until filling is bubbly. 

for the crust:
1 recipe of brisée dough

for the veg + chicken filling:
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ghee, coconut oil or olive oil, divided (I use butter, but all work great)
2 cups / 190g leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
2 cups / 335g carrots, peeled and chopped into coins, (tip! I just use organic baby carrots to save time)
2 cups / 355g dutch yellow potatoes, peeled or unpeeled (I left my skins on) and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ cups / 354ml chicken or veggie stock or water, room temperature (or a little more or a little less, see note in method)
2 cups / 76g  lacinato (dino) kale, stalks removed, cut into thin-ish, bite-sized strips
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, just the leaves not woodsy parts, chopped
2 heaping cups / 105g fresh spinach, chopped finely (think confetti) OPTIONAL see bakers note above!!
1 ½ cups / 225g peas, fresh or frozen (I used frozen) *if making this pie a vegetarian version, add one more ½ cup / 70g of peas*
2 cups / 455g / 1 lb (about 1 large breast) roasted chicken, skin and bone removed, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, more to garnish (optional)

for the sauce:
½ cup (85g) + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour
¼ cup (55g) + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups / 350ml whole milk, room temperature
1 ½ cups / 350ml  chicken or veggie stock, room temperature
5-8 springs of fresh thyme
½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste if you think it needs a little more or less)
fresh black pepper to taste

 

In a large pot on medium heat, melt 2 tablespoon butter (or fat of choice) and fry leeks until a they turn a slight golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Add carrots, potatoes ½ teaspoon-ish of kosher salt and stir until the veggies are coated in the leeks and butter. Turn heat to a medium/low heat. Add 1 to 1 ½ cups of chicken/veggie stock or water and continue to cook veggies until they have absorbed all of the liquid and potatoes are soft but not falling apart, and carrots are soft-ish, but still have a bite, about 10-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. note! It's super dry here in Utah, so I use all of the 1 ½ cups of liquid to get these results, but there's no shame in adding a little less liquid or a little more liquid if that's what it takes to get your veg right.  

As your veggies soften, make the sauce. 

In a medium size dutch-oven like pot over low-medium heat, melt your butter. Once butter has melted and bubbled slightly, whisk in the flour until the flour has absorbed all the butter. Still whisking, cook the flour + butter for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

In a steady stream, pour the room temperature milk into the flour + butter paste whisking constantly. The flour and butter should soak up the milk like a sponge and it will be a little lumpy. Immediately after the milk has been soaked up, add your chicken or veggie stock in a steady stream. Add your sprigs of thyme. Still whisking constantly and reduce heat to low and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens - about 1-3 minutes. You'll know the sauce is ready if you dip a spoon in it, draw your finger across the back of it and it leaves a line. When sauce is done, fish out sprigs of thyme. Add salt to taste. Set aside. 

After the carrots + potatoes have absorbed the liquid, add 1 tablespoon of butter, kale and thyme + parsley. Add pinch of kosher salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes. If adding the optional spinach, add it now. If you added spinach - add another tiny pinch of salt and cook it with the kale for 1-2 minutes. 

Add peas and chopped chicken.

Add your beautiful sauce to this huge pot of veggies and gently stir until combined. Set aside. 

 

Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C and place a large sheet pan on the middle wrack to get hot. 

Take out your two disks of chilled brisée dough. Flour a clean surface and roll each disk into a 12-inch circle at about ⅜-inch thick. (It can be a little thinner than this too, don't stress. Also if you're finding that it's a little difficult to roll out, let it sit out at room temperature for 5 minutes or so. It will warm up as you roll it.) 

Press one dough circle into an 10-inch pie tin, trimming the excess dough. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes while you roll out the other disk. 

Fill the pie with your filling. The filling comes very high out of the pie tin - create a dome out of it and gently lay the other 12-inch circle of dough over it. Cut excess dough and pinch the bottom and top dough pieces together and cut 3-4 slits in the top to let out the steam. 

Liberally brush the pie with one beaten egg using a pastry brush and top with flaky sea salt (or kosher salt) and freshly cracked black pepper. Without taking it out of the oven, place the pie on the hot sheet pan in the oven to bake. This ensures that our bottom crust wont be soggy. 

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cooking time depends on the heat of your filling and your oven. Filling should be bubbly and crust should be a deep golden brown. When you can smell it baking, it usually means it's close to ready. 

Serve warm and congratulations! You made an amazing pie!! xo 

brisée dough | part 2 of chicken + veg pot pie

(In Oprah voice) Briséeeeee dough!!! Friends I posted about this dough on instagram forever ago and HERE WE ARE: The savory flaky, super easy dough you've been waiting for!! (Or maybe you haven't been waiting at all, that's totally fine.) It's French. We love it because it's French.

Am I the only one who loves French things? I mean aren't they the queen of pastry? It might have something to do with the fact that I have French in my blood but John and I went for a walk yesterday evening and we met a real Parisian man with a thick French accent and I was like - BUT WHY DID YOU LEAVE PARIS? He did it for LOVE! Lol, Oh love! The things you do to us. I think I freaked him out a little bit because I can get a little too excited about pastry and I automatically associated him with the knowledge of how to bake anything because he was Parisian. I have been accused of being a little too enthusiastic before and it's true. 

1. the crumbs (stage 1).jpg

Anyway, Briseee dough.  We love it because it's freaking delicious and EASY and if you have a "favorite" savory pie recipe, use this crust instead, keep your filling, but please for the love of pie, try this crust at least once. It's all butter and so flaky. And we're gonna work together to make sure yours is flaky too.  

Quick mom update:  Myles is currently into everything and crawling like a baby cheetah. He has also gotten really brave and pulls himself up onto things and stands, letting go with one hand just hovering and then slightly bounces up and down. Our printer currently lives on the floor (because we sold our desk when we moved and haven't gotten around to getting another one yet) and he loves pulling himself up using the printer as stability. I let him test out his bravery all the time, and hold my hands out right behind him just in case he slips or loses balance, and when he tumbles and I catch him he either smiles the biggest smile at me or he ignores me a little, grips my thumbs and tries to get up again. The determination, the stamina, the bravery, the kisses, the strength, the charm. He's the full package ladies. My heart is already dying about it. 

And right now he makes the happiest squeal sound when I go and get him up from his naps. It's like I'm the greatest thing he's ever seen. My heart bursts a million times a day for this kid.

Anyway, I don't want to keep you because #dough. This is the dough we're using to make our chicken veg-filled pot pie for Father's Day (but you can make it any day really). If you missed my last post, I share how to make a really good and easy roasted chicken here for this pie of ours. 

Next post is going to come with a rough timeline that should help make this chicken + veg pot pie go over smoothly, but if you want to get started now - you can easily make this dough 3 days ahead of time, kept tightly wrapped in the fridge. After 3 days the butter starts to oxidize, meaning it still tastes okay, but it starts to look gray. So if you want to make it more than 3 days ahead of time, stick in the freezer. 

Love you friends. xo

Brisée Dough (savory pie or pastry dough)

Makes one 10-inch pie (with left overs), two 9-inch tarts/quiches or 12 little 5-inch tarts

adapted from Little Flower Baking

I love how flaky this crust is. It's seriously magic.

bakers note: Don't stress too much about making the butter cubes exactly ½ inch. I honestly never worry about how big or small my butter chunks are. I think a variety here is a good thing. 

4 ½ cups / 540g all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 ½ cups / 342g unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
⅓ cup / 74g ice water (ice cubes removed) please note you might need a little more or a little less water depending on where you live. I find that here in UT I need way more than I did in CA

 

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment: gently mix the flour and salt. Then as the mixer continues to stir, gradually add the chunks of cold butter into the flour mixture. Mix until some of the butter and flour combine into blob-like-crumbs. Most people say that here, the blobs should resemble peas. To me, they don't need to be the size of peas, I actually prefer the blobs to be a mix of big and small blobs (see pictures above as a reference)

Once you have a crumb-like mess, slowly start to add your ice water. Now you can do this one of two ways: you can slowly add your ice water as your electric mixer continues to stir or you can pour the crumbly mess onto a clean surface and add the water little by little, working the dough with your hands until combined.

If you'd like to start by pouring some of the water in the mixer that's totally fine, but you will need to take the dough out once it starts to stick and finish kneading it by hand in order to ensure a really flaky dough. I do this whole process by hand. It's a mess, but it's fun and gets the right texture every time. 

Knead the dough by pressing the heel of your hand forward and kind of pinching it, and then doing this motion over again a few times. (See GIF above) Knead until just combined. You should be able to see some white marbling of the butter throughout your dough. 

If your making this for an 10-inch pie: Split your dough into two disks and wrap each one tightly and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. 

Once dough has been chilled, roll each disk out into a 12-inch circle at about ⅜-inch thick. 

really good (and easy) roasted chicken | part 1 chicken + veg pot pie

First of all, I have to apologize. 

It's probably not good to start out a blog post with an apology, but I'm doing it. 

I'm sorry if you don't eat meat because this post is all about how to make a really amazing roasted chicken. So if you're not a meat person, let's still be friends because I'm not a huge meat person either. 

In fact I'll never forget my first morning in a professional kitchen. The owner/chef had just hired me and was showing me around, introducing me to the other chefs that were busy prepping the meat for the evening chefs. 

I was a vegetarian at the time and not too excited about working with raw meat - especially working with raw meat at 4am in the morning - so I quickly requested to work in the pastry department. The smell of fresh bread and warm chocolate in the morning was much more my thing.... and it's been my thing ever since.

So! There you have it. Since then I've come in and out of vegetarianism - but I've always been sparse about my meat consumption. I'm also very choosey about the meat I buy and because of this, will spend the extra money on humanely raised meats whenever available. If you haven't already, I encourage you to educate yourself on where our meat comes from. Meat factories are one of the highest causes of air pollution and animal cruelty is real, so, it's really important to me that we eat it sparingly, and more importantly, are very particular about where it comes from. Farms over factories my friends. (Here's where to buy certified humane meats near you).

 I'm stepping off of my soap box now.  *clears throat*  Eh hem!

Okay, am I super good at making you lose your appetite? Do you need a break or shall we go back to chicken? 

This chicken is for the chicken veg-filled pie we're making this week for Fathers Day. Did you catch that post I shared on instagram? The one where I literally dropped a drool on the table as I shot that chicken pot pie? LOL

Am I doing it again? Making you lose your appetite? Okay let's just get on with my chicken tips: (Hey! if you're not into chicken, don't fret! You can still make this pie without meat no problem! I made sure of it! So just stay tuned for the next two upcoming posts)

tips and tricks for roasting a really stinking perfect chicken :

1. Think smaller. Don’t get any bigger than a 4 or 5 pound bird. 3-4 pounds is ideal.

2. Buy organic or preferably pasture raised. It makes a big difference.

3. Salt it a little more than you think you should. I always use kosher salt for my meats. The shape of the actual salt gets into the meat making it absorb the flavor and plump up with juiciness. 

4. High oven temperature ensure a crispy crust and a juicy, mouth-watering bird.  

5. All you need is good fat (butter, ghee, olive oil or coconut oil) and getting that fat underneath the skin to guarantee an unbelievable flavor and crispy, salty skin. 

I am of the belief that if I'm going to cook meat, it better be done pretty dang well or else it's not worth it. 

Amen? 

Okay, next post is how to make the perfect savory pie crust. Stay tuned. Or err, I mean go make a chicken! ;) 

ps. If you're still with me, and you're not into meat, again, don't fret. This Father's Day chicken veg-filled pie can easily be made without the chicken!  

 

really good (and easy) roasted chicken

Serves 4-6

by robyn holland | sweetish.co

I love this chicken because it makes me look good. All it takes is some butter and salt - and bam, you have a group full of people who love you and your chicken. It's so easy you wont want to talk about how easy it is. This is by far a staple in our family. Sidenote: If you're making this for the chicken veg pie for Father's Day, you only need one whole breast from this chicken. Enjoy the leftovers! 

baker's tips: I love all of the aforementioned fats for roasting chicken, but my top favorites are butter/ghee and coconut oil because they can withstand such high heat. Butter being my #1, because #imabaker. 

special equipment: Sharp kitchen sheers, twine

 

1 (3-4 pound) chicken organic, pasture raised if possible

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, coconut oil or olive oil, softened to room temperature

2 teaspoons of kosher salt, divided

freshly cracked pepper to taste

 

Let the chicken sit for 30 minutes to remove the chill.

Preheat oven to 400°F / 204°C and line a roasting pan or sheet pan with tin foil. 

Cut out the spine, and only the spine of the bird using extra sharp kitchen sheers. Just find the tail of the bird and cut down on either side of it.  You should be left with a space about 2-3 inches in diameter, backbone missing. Don’t skip this step! It’s important for juicy results.

Dab chicken with paper towels removing all natural wetness. Do not rinse your bird off with water.

Face your bird breast side up on your foil-lined sheet/roasting pan. Tie legs together using twine and clip the ends of the wings off (these always burn and look gross anyway, so just clip them off). 

Salt your bird using 1 teaspoon kosher salt, sprinkling with your hands, covering all nooks and crannies of the bird.

Rub softened butter (or fat of choice) all over and under the skin, taking the salt you just sprinkled with you as you rub. Break the skin away gently with your fingers messaging the butter in between the meat and the skin.

Crack as much fresh cracked pepper over the top as you desire. 

Bake for 60 minutes uncovered - but watch it. This baking time can very depending upon your oven. If you’re unsure about the doneness, stick a knife in the breast until it hits the bone, juices should run clear. Every oven is different, so if yours is running cold, it may take longer to cook, if its running hot, you may need to tent the chicken in foil to prevent burning before it's completely done cooking. 

Take the bird out of the oven, sprinkling with the remaining 1 tsp. kosher salt. 

tip! Let bird rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting so that those juices stay IN the bird.

Sometimes, if I'm serving this for Sunday dinner I stick a bunch of spinach underneath it to catch all the fat and warmth of the chicken and serve with lemon. 

one bowl, gluten-free chocolate chunk cupcakes (+ the savvy cook giveaway!)

between melting chunks of chocolate and bursts of tart raspberry these cupcake muffins are so good, no one will ever guess they're gluten free. and did I mention you can easily make them in one bowl? #winning 

between melting chunks of chocolate and bursts of tart raspberry these cupcake muffins are so good, no one will ever guess they're gluten free. and did I mention you can easily make them in one bowl? #winning 

Have you seen that Taylor Swift GIF of her making an "L" shape on her forehead and rolling her eyes? Yes?

No?

You mean your brother doesn't text this GIF to you on the daily just as a little encouragement to say, "Hey, you're awesome?" (Eye roll emoji.)

That T-swift GIF has been my mood lately. I know, I know. I'm still focusing on being positive but I keep playing the comparison game thinking everyone else in this field of food blogging is wayyyy better than I am and I feel a little stuck. I guess I feel stuck in a couple of ways. I'm incredibly tired. Sleep training had to be put on hold because we needed to increase Myles' feedings - because my child, for the record, has the metabolism of a humming bird and the stamina of a baby cheetah - in other words, has a hard time packing on the pounds. This increased feedings business meant that we (me) had to continue to feed on demand throughout the night if he wanted to eat instead of sleep; doctor's orders. 

Can I just pause real quick and woman to woman tell you how much hearing that sucked? First of all it made me feel like I wasn't feeding my child enough and second, just when I was starting to see light at the end of this dark, sleep deprived tunnel (aka Myles just started sleeping 8 hour stretches right before this doctors visit) the light disappeared.

I'm so incredibly happy, I adore being a mother, but I'm also dying, lol. I probably average 4-5 hours of sleep a night because I can't seem to quiet my body down. I keep panicking that he'll wake up any minute and worrying about things I probably shouldn't be worrying about. 

And Myles doesn't like napping.... and because he doesn't like napping I find myself trying to go on with some sort of routine while trying to entertain and keep watch of an 8 month old who is quicker and more curious than I ever remember a kid being. (see note about stamina of a cheetah above). It's a privilege to stay home with him, but it's also REALLY HARD. 

Plus being a mom comes with lots of unsolicited advice you know? And maybe mini judgements? Mom's I've met have sweetly hinted that maybe I wasn't feeding Myles enough because he's a little on the long and slender side - and when I get these reactions I feel the need to justify my mothering:  "Yes, I've pumped all day, tracked his ounces religiously and I make more milk than this kid will drink. I've even gotten the fat content of my milk tested. TMI? Yes, I feed him solids 5-6 times a day. Yes, he eats almost everything! Yes, he poops and pees like a man. Etc. etc. " 

Oh motherhood. There's a lot of assumptions. And comparisons.

Instagram can fuel an unproductive comparison game too you know? The number of followers, the likes, the feeds. It's like a public display of coolness and this may be the sleep deprivation talking but, I don't feel cool enough. Is that even okay to admit? 

I mean, we're not supposed to talk about that stuff on here right? 

Anyway, I've found that when I'm in need of some boosting or reevaluating, I turn away from my screen and turn to books. Books and prayer to rekindle my hustle. 

Have you read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? I've read it like 5 times so far and there's this one quote that always sticks with me whenever I feel discouraged and not "good enough". This can apply to motherhood as well as creating / writing / taking pictures / recipe developing - anything YOU do: 

Recognizing that people’s reactions don’t belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you’ve created, terrific. If people ignore what you’ve created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you’ve created, don’t sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? Just smile sweetly and suggest - as politely as you possibly can - that they go make their own effing art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

Speaking of creating, THESE CUPCAKE MUFFINS are something you should most-def make. They're from Izy Hossack's new cookbook, The Savvy Cook and I cannot tell you what a gem the book is. If you've been wanting to get into menu planing and meal prepping, and learning how to make things gluten-free and dairy-free or just bask in all approachable delicious things, this cookbook is for YOU.

I've been a fan of Izy's beautiful work forever and she was generous enough to give me an advanced copy of her new cookbook and guess what?! I want to GIVE ONE TO YOU TOO!!! 

Comment below telling me what you love to create - I love to create so many things, so feel free to spill. You're in good company. 

Congrats Izy! The book is beeeautiful and so full of good ideas. 

Winner will be chosen at random from the comments on Friday, June 9th and notified by email. Contest open to US residents only. 

Hey! Thanks for being my friend and listening to me talk about stuff. OkayIloveyoubye! xo 

One Bowl, Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes

adapted from Izy Hossack's The Savvy Cook

Makes 12 normal sized cupcakes/muffins or one 9 inch cake round

Everyone loved these. Me, Myles, John. Myles was especially enthusiastic about the whipped cream on top and did a little happy dance after I fed him pinches of the cake. These are so good too, that no one would even guess they're gluten-free. 

bakers notes: If you can, invest in a really high quality dark chocolate bar here as it really makes all the difference. The slivers and chunks provide such a beautiful variety in the cupcake - you get a melty big chunk here and a hint of chocolate there - that it's just worth it to splurge. I used a dark bar valrhona chocolate. 

⅓ cup / 76g  melted unsalted butter / coconut oil (plus extra for greasing, if you’re making this into a cake instead of cupcakes)
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon / 80g oat flour (plus extra for dusting, if you’re making this into a cake instead of cupcakes)
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons / 80g almond meal / almond flour
⅓ cup / 80g firmly packed brown sugar / muscovado sugar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
¼ cup / 60ml  milk or non-dairy milk  (I used full fat cow milk, but don’t worry, any kind of milk will do)
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ½ ounces / 100g bar of dark chocolate (70% cocoa content), chopped
¾ cup / 100g fresh raspberries (frozen will do too!)

Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C.

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or if you’d rather make this into a cake, grease a 9” cake pan with butter or coconut oil and dust with oat flour to ensure the cake won’t stick. If you plan on making these into cupcake muffins like I did, I strongly encourage the use of cupcake liners as the crumb of this cake is quite delicate. 

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Then forming a well in the middle of your dry ingredients, add your melted butter, milk and egg and whisk until combined. Add your almond and vanilla extract. Gently fold in your fresh raspberries and chopped chocolate at the same time, until evenly distributed. 

Fill cupcake liners generously using up all the batter or if baking in a 9” cake tin, spread the batter out evenly. (I got 12 cupcakes out of it, using a regular sized muffin tin.) 

For both the cupcakes and the cake: Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Cupcakes should be slightly golden brown on top and spring back when you press them slightly. 

If you plan on swirling whipped cream on top like I did, cupcakes must be completely cool before topping with the cream.

This cake is delicious warm just as is, (especially for breakfast) but the whipped cream definitely makes it something special. 

For the whipped cream: In an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, whip 1 ½ cups whipping cream with 1 or 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (just depends on how sweet you'd like your cream) and ½ of a vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste. Whip until stiff peaks form and scoop into a pipping bag. Swirl on top of cooled cupcakes and top with each with a fresh raspberry. 

rhubarb breakfast cobbler (gluten free)

Tangy, not too sweet and the perfect syrupy filling to crisp topping ratio. 

Tangy, not too sweet and the perfect syrupy filling to crisp topping ratio. 

This guy scared the poo out of me the other day at the grocery store.

"What do you do with that?" He asked a little too loud and quite literally inches away from me.

I was picking out deep red stalks of rhubarb and carefully examining each one.

He was a produce dude at Whole Foods. Before I could answer he continued, "I have people come up to me all the time asking, what do you do with that? And I have no idea what to tell them!"

"You bake it!" I said uncomfortably but enthusiastically back. "Rhubarb is tart and full of water - kind of like a strawberry or raspberry. I usually bake it with other fruit because it does tend to be quite tangy. I'm going to make a cake and a cobbler out of it. But it's delicious roasted with a little sugar and vanilla bean and then dished onto yogurt or ice cream."

He said, "Oh, okay." Then he paused, "Sorry for scaring you, I just have so many people ask me what to do with that stuff and I never know what to say."

I joked back, "That's why we have a little thing called, Google." I thought about telling him about this space (aka my food blog) but I didn't. Didn't really seem like the type that would be interested in it, you know? Plus I seem to have a face that welcomes weirdos.

I mean that with love.

But really, John has noticed it too, just the other day we went out to eat and this large bald guy behind us in line would not stop talking to me. I didn't get a creep vibe from him, just a lonely I'm weird vibe, so we chatted with him for a little bit, but then John took over the conversation for me (totally saving me) I ended up leaving the line to go save a spot for us to sit. Is it sad I breathed a sigh of relief? 

We live in a world now where it's hard to determine what's nice and what's stupid. I feel like my LA roots come into play wherever I go. I lock everything, don't really say hello or make much small talk, I keep my purse close, hardly go anywhere alone at night, etc etc. I hate to admit it but a lot of the time I think being nice is being stupid. 

But here in Utah, people let their kids walk home from school unsupervised I'm still like, "Where is your grownup?!!" I think I'll always be more cautious than most, but whatever. If you knew my grandmother and mother and the stories they'd tell me to scare me safe you'd understand. 

ANYWAY, rhubarb. (Check out some fun nourishing facts on rhubarb below).

Rhubarb is my favorite when it's really soft and syrupy. Plus, I'm always looking for an excuse to eat dessert for breakfast and this cobbler delivers on all fronts. The filling is still tangy, soft, and thickens up as it cools, making it a beautiful accompaniment to the textured top. The top is filled with oats, walnuts, flax seeds and almonds - all provide some healthy good fats and fiber while still maintaining their crunch, even amongst the gorgeous pooling red, syrupy liquid. The top is buttery without feeling heavy and hearty without feeling like you're chewing for days.

I imagine this would be a fantastic, unexpected yet welcomed brunch dish, either pre-scooped into little bowls or served family style. I love it with thick unsweetened, full-fat yogurt and maple-sweetened whipped cream. Yes, both. It's so good

John's recommends it warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for breakfast, which he just had Saturday morning. Ice cream or not, it's still indulgent but wholesome and dang delicious.  

Love you friends. xo  

rhubarb breakfast cobbler (with strawberry + raspberry, gluten free) 

by robyn holland | sweetish.co

This is fantastic warm or cold, with chilled full fat yogurt. 

bakers note: I threw this recipe together based on what I had on hand. So, don't stress too much about the measurements of the fruit here - my cup measurements are a bit of a guess, so I suggest weighing things out if you want the exact results I got. But! Good news is, cobbler is very, very forgiving.... which is probably why it's one of my most favorite things to eat and make. Bottom line, don't stress too much about it. 

for the filling:

6-7 cups / 687g rhubarb, freshly cut into ½ in pieces (about 8-10 stalks)
2 ½ cups / 355g strawberries, freshly cut into quarters or halves
3 cups / 350g raspberries, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons tapioca flour or organic cornstarch
¾ cup / 150g sugar

for the topping:

½ cup / 115g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
½ cups / 100g muscovado sugar
½ cup / 65g walnuts, chopped
2 ⅔ cups / 215g rolled whole oats
½ cup / 75g brown rice flour
3 tablespoons flax seeds, whole
½ teaspoon salt, kosher
3 tablespoons almond meal / almond flour

Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C Butter a 9 x 13” baking dish. Set aside. ps. Greasing the dish is optional, so no biggie if you forget to do this. I always forget! 

Toss all cut fruit in a large bowl with the sugar and tapioca starch until all the fruit looks evenly coated. 

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a large bowl: oats, brown rice flour, almond meal, flax seeds, walnuts and salt. Set aside. 

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter, coconut oil and muscovado sugar together until creamy and fluffy - about 5-8 minutes. 

Add your dry ingredients to the fluffy butter mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Mixture should look clumpy but not dry. 

Pour filling into baking dish and liberally sprinkle the topping on top. 

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until filling bubbles and rhubarb looks soft. tip: I had to cover the top of my cobbler about 40 minutes into the baking time so my filling would continue cooking, but my top wouldn’t get any browner. 

Wait at least 10 minutes before serving. Keep in mind the cobbler filling thickens as it cools so if you serve it straight away, you’ll get a still glorious, but slightly runny filling. Keeps for about 1 week in the fridge, really tightly wrapped. 

 

why is this good for me? 

rhubarb - is actually a vegetable, even though I treat it like a fruit! Rhubarb contains vitamin K, calcium and some vitamin C (but not a ton). Vitamin K has actually been known to protect against Alzheimers and used as a tool to help our blood clot (therefore it may help reduce your risk of having a stroke).  Look for deep red stalks as they contain more beta-carotene, which is code for higher antioxidants. 

oat and spelt flour chocolate chip cookies

Every time we tell people that we moved here from Southern California people ask, "WHY did you leave?"

And honestly we've asked ourselves the same question at least 1000 times.

We miss palm trees, blue skies and boring weather (aka, sunshine all the time). I miss the produce and my favorite places to shop for it. We miss the beach and all of our favorite places to walk, talk and explore. We miss our favorite indie movie theater with the best popcorn. We miss running into people we know. We miss our long drives down the coast to get the best tacos and horchata. We miss jumping in the car and knowing exactly where we're going without consulting Waze. We miss feeling like we belong. And of course, it goes without saying but we especially miss our people.

I spoke at our church this past Sunday and mentioned John and I were new to the area and afterwards a beautiful lady came up to me and said, "I don't want to be discouraging, but, we're from Southern California too and we've been here for over 20 years."

I went home after that and cried.

We really are trying to look for the positive things that Utah has to offer though, like: 

1. The mountain man bun. It's like the surfer man bun, only it comes with a gnarly, unkempt beard and red checkered flannel. It's definitely a thing and sometimes I get a nudge from John while we're out in public and he'll whisper and nod is head in a direction saying, "Look at that one." Is "spot the man bun" a game? Because we play it. 

2. It’s a slower pace. People aren’t in such a hurry. People say hello everywhere. There’s a real sense of community here. Utahns are really proud to be Utahns. It’s both annoying and admirable. 

3. No traffic. Utah, bless you. You don’t know what real traffic is. 

4. The accent. Some Utahns say things like, "melk" instead of “milk” and “fLajita” instead of fajita, "ex-specially" instead of especially, “ompen” instead of open, "moisture" instead of rain. I seriously giggle every time I hear a true Utahan speak. It’s my favorite. I’m sure this California girl with her “likes” and "totally-s" and “dudes" and “rads" is equally as entertaining. 

And that's it! Haha, I know, a meager list. I don't know if it will ever grow but I'm working on it. 

I’ve had transplants tell me that it took years for Utah to feel like home. But I think the problem is, I don't want it to feel like home. I feel like the second it starts to feel like home it means I’m stuck here forever. I still want home to be home because home is so much a part of who I am. Is it weird for me to hold onto that? 

Anyway, at this rate, I’m sure we could all use a cookie.

These chocolate chip cookies use spelt and oat flour and almond butter and they’re on the thin side but not too thin - still crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the middle. The muscovado sugar and combination of flours make for a more nutty, malty, buttery cookie than my typical salted chocolate chip. And of course had to add a sprinkle of salt to these to balance all of those beautiful flavors out because, sweetish. 

Love you my friends. xo

oat and spelt flour chocolate chip cookies

makes 24-ish cookies, adapted from Anna Jones', a Modern Way to Eat

I’ve been trying to eat a lot better lately because my sister is getting married in July and I really want to lose this extra wobble I think I’ve earned. But after eating mostly treat-free for weeks and weeks I told John I was making a healthy-ish cookie and no one was gonna stop me. He started taking out sticks of butter to soften on the counter just a like a good husband should. 

bakers note: I think these need salt. The original recipe called for no salt at all, but I went ahead and added it not only into the recipe but sprinkled on top as well.  Also! Take note that the dough needs to chill for an hour to ensure the perfect texture. And one more thing - these cookie are perfect for ice cream sandwiches - especially slightly under baked. 

 

1 cup / 100g oat flour
⅔ cup / 100g spelt flour or whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
5 oz / 150g dark chocolate bar (70% cocoa or highger) roughly chopped into good chunks or big chocolate buttons / chips
6 tablespoons / 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons / 100g almond butter or peanut butter
⅔ cup / 150g light brown sugar or light muscavado sugar
⅔ cup / 150g dark brown sugar or dark muscavado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large pasture raised eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400° F / 200°C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Combine flours, baking powder and salt in bowl. Then pour in your chocolate chunks and whisk it all together. 

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat almond butter, sugars, vanilla and butter until whipped and creamy. About 5-8 minutes. 

Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated. 

Slowly add your dry ingredients until everything is combined. 

Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour before baking. Make sure your dough is covered before you chill it so it doesn't dry out. 

Scoop cold dough onto parchment paper. I like my cookie balls slightly larger than a tablespoon. Space cookies at least 2 inches apart so they have room to grow. Press each dough ball down with the heel of your palm flattening them out just a bit before sprinkling with a pinch of sea salt. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a dark golden brown around the edges. Enjoy warm straight from the pan or cool the cookies and make into ice cream sandwiches. We used coffee and vanilla ice cream to make sandwiches and they were heaven. 

 

why is this good for me? 

spelt flour - is an ancient, minimally processed grain, therefore delivering some major health benefits. Like, more soluble fiber which helps regulate our blood sugar, improves our digestive system and strengthens our immune system. 

oat flour - is a gluten free flour. It's basically just ground oats but it is the most soluble grain out there, meaning it digests slowly making us feel full longer. It's also been known to help us reduce stress, help with anxiety, depression and insomnia. 

lemon rhubarb cake (gluten-free + quick how-to videos)

Fun and simple, and the perfect amount of tart and sweet - and you'd never guess it's gluten-free! 

Fun and simple, and the perfect amount of tart and sweet - and you'd never guess it's gluten-free! 

I had to take Sundae to the vet today. Nothing serious (we hope), she just has a bladder infection, but my goodness ever since we moved up here to Utah, it seems like this poor pup gets bladder infections. This is her third one. Luckily we FINALLY found a kind, smart and understanding vet that doesn't charge up the bottom and I think she's gonna help us kick this silly thing. 

Speaking of bottoms, I totally held Myles' butt up to my face while the vet was talking to me to see if he had pooped. I didn't really realize what I had done until after I'd done it. Story of my life - me acting THEN thinking, but the vet smiled at me and kept talking as though I'd done nothing weird.

I also realized that I am totally that mom that I said I'd never be.... which is the slightly gross mom.

Example: I got a piece of cake with a new friend today at my new favorite bakery (Tulie) and I kept feeding pinches of my cake to Myles. Then when he'd spit out the pinches or not quite finish the bites, I'd just discretely wipe them off his face and eat them. Again, one of those instances where I didn't really realize what I was doing until I'd already done it.  Also, see aforementioned example of butt smelling.

Are you still with me? Or are you officially grossed out? 

Let's talk about tastier bottoms now. Like the bottom of this cake with its cleverly cut rhubarb. (see videos below) You sprinkle sugar at the bottom of the pan right before the rhubarb goes in and this little extra sugar balances out the tartness of the rhubarb - and since the sponge of the cake itself is tang-tastically lemony - you need just a tiny bit of that sugar at the bottom to make the party dance. 

Also. Cream. Whipped cream definitely makes me dance. Please note that I only artistically placed the whipped cream for the picture's sake. Really, I ate a slice of this completely lathered in cream. #itwasamazing 

This is a beautifully, easy cake that keeps well in the fridge for a week and makes an excellent on the fly breakfast. 

Love you friends. xo

lemon rhubarb cake (gluten-free)

adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt's Tartine All Day

I lose it when a gluten free recipe is so good you don’t even know it’s gluten free. Behold this cake. Fully adapted from the master pastry chef herself, Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine Bakery. (Whispers, I love you Elisabeth). This is one to keep forever my friends. AND. You don’t need to make it with rhubarb if you’re not into it or scared of it or whatever. The rhubarb adds a wonderful zip to the already tangy crumb but feel free to make this recipe sans rhubarb and it will still be the best lemony gluten free cake you’ve ever had. I said it. 

bakers note: You know how a huge pumpkin is really cool but then when that pumpkin gets turned into a golden carriage to take you to the ball it’s even cooler? That’s what whipped cream does to this cake.

another bakers note: It's really imperative that all of your ingredients are room temperature here. AND. Don't be putt off by this cake because of the ingredient list. Most are ingredients you probably have on hand anyway with maybe the exception of the flours. Good news is, if you have to purchase these flours in order to make the cake, they can last you a long time in the freezer. But trust me, you'll probably go through them fast because you're gonna want to make this cake a lot - it's that good and easy. 

5 stalks rhubarb
⅔ cup / 130g sugar, plus a scant ¼ cup / 50g sugar for sprinkling at the bottom of the pan
4 large eggs, room temperature, preferably pasture-raised
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup / 110g unsalted butter, at a very soft room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut flour
¼ cup / 60ml water, room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups / 360g almond flour, (I used 1 cup / 120g blanched almond flour and 2 cups / 240g almond meal)
¼ cup / 24g brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
 

Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C and grease a 10 in / 25cm cake pan with softened butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Sprinkle a scant ¼ cup / 50g of sugar at the bottom of the pan and lay your cut and trimmed rhubarb to fit into the pan. *See videos here and below for a reference. 

With an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat together eggs, sugar and salt for 2-5 minutes until the mixture gets really light and fluffy and triples in size. You'll know its ready when you lift the whisk and satiny ribbons fall and leave a slight impression in the batter. 

In a large cereal size bowl, using a spoon, smash together the really soft butter and olive oil until incorporated. 

In a small bowl, mix the coconut flour and water together. Let it sit for just a sec until the coconut flour absorbs the water and gets thick, then add this to the butter + olive oil mixture. 

Add lemon zest + juice + vanilla into butter mixture. 

Whisk together almond + rice flour + baking powder in a bowl and then gently fold these dry ingredients into the fluffy egg + sugar mixture. This is the slightly tricky bit: Beat in only ¼ of the butter mixture. Then gently fold in the rest of the butter mixture with a spatula. 

Pour batter into prepared cake pan smoothing it evenly over the cut rhubarb. 

Bake until edges and top are a golden brown, about 30 minutes. If you stick a toothpick in it, some crumbs will stick to it, but the batter will not be wet at all. Let cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then flip it out onto a plate and let it cool for another 15 minutes or so before serving. Serve with lots fresh whipped cream. 

Cake keeps for a week wrapped in the fridge if it lasts that long. :) 

why is this good for me? 

rhubarb - is actually a vegetable, even though I treat it like a fruit! Rhubarb contains vitamin K, calcium and some vitamin C (but not a ton). Vitamin K has actually been known to protect against Alzheimers and used as a tool to help our blood clot (therefore it may help reduce your risk of having a stroke).  Look for deep red stalks as they contain more beta-carotene, which is code for higher antioxidants. ;) 

savory (gruyere-filled) french toast with raspberry preserves

Going out to breakfast sounds nice. Pre-child John and I used to go out to breakfast a lot. Now we don't. Myles is in the "grab everrrrrrything he sees" phase so it makes for a difficult eating time. This kid has the strongest grip. Even his doctor laughed out loud commenting on how strong he is. By the way he's crawling. Yes, ladies and gentleman I have a crawler at 7 months old. I mean, I know I'm bias but this little guy is really smart and a really fast learner. He loves to dance and sing with me and I swear this kid can already understand a beat. He is the happiest, most energetic baby.

It's rare, but when he's tired and not so wiggly, he burrows his head into my neck and just rests his head on my shoulder, and I just hold him with both arms and sway and my eyes leak because I just freaking love him so much. I wish I could save nuggets of time and replay them when he is grown. He is my greatest joy.

Speaking of joy, let's get back to breakfast and how you don't need to go out to breakfast this Mother's Day either. 

Because I have this for you: it's warm, gooey, gruyere cheese-filled French toast smothered in salted butter and beautiful raspberry preserves. I may or may not be salivating as I type this out.

With this French toast, we get both savory and sweet my indecisive friends, and it IS HEAVEN.

It's the perfect weekend breakfast.

It's the perfect breakfast to make your mom.

Or you.

Or a lady you love that means a lot to you.

Or yourself. You should treat yo-self.

Speaking of treat-yo self...

 I've partnered with Bonne Maman for this post and in honor of Mother's Day they are giving away a 12 piece Le Crueset cookware set. Bonne Maman is delicious and made from simple, wholesome ingredients that can be found in anyone’s pantry. You guys!! Go enter!! TWELVE PIECE SET! I mean you'll be set for life!! Lol!

May your weekend be filled with warm cheesy breakfasts and winning giveaways. Love you friends. 

 

savory (gruyere-filled) french toast with raspberry preserves

serves 4

Fitting for Mother's Day, my mom just happened to be in town when I made this. In fact we ate this so fast in the morning that we didn't have any left over for my sister to try later that day.... which was kind of embarrassing because we felt like we had zero self control eating an entire loaf of French toast filled with cheese between 3 people (me, my mom and John) but YOU GUYS. Please make this and just try holding back.

½ cup / 115ml cream, preferably grass fed
½ cup / 115ml whole milk, preferably grass fed
3 eggs, preferably pasture raised, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf brioche or challah bread, sliced into 1 inch / 2.5cm slices (day-old bread works best)
salted butter for cooking and to serve
raspberry preserves to serve

Preheat your oven to 250°F / 120°C and put a wire cooling rack inside a sheet pan and place in the oven to get warm. This is the method I use to keep the French toast warm after it's been made. The wire wrack ensures that the toast will stay slightly crisp on the outside and not get soggy. 

In a medium sized, bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream and salt and pepper and set aside. You may want to transfer the mixture to a shallow bowl/container for easier, even dipping.

Use a serrated knife to slice your bread into 1 inch slices. Now go back and cut your bread slices in half - starting from the bottom of the bread and working your way up to the top but don't cut all the way through the top of the bread - leave the tops of your slices intact. Put a generous amount of shredded gruyere cheese in between the bread but avoiding the edges, like you're making a cheese sandwich. *See the picture of me lifting the bread revealing the cheese underneath as a reference. 

Lay out all of your dry,  cheese-filled slices on a sheet pan.

Quickly dip each slice into your cream + egg + milk mixture, flipping the bread carefully so each side soaks up some of the mixture, and the cheese still stays in the middle. Don't let your bread linger too long or it will get soggy. 

tip: I dipped all of my bread slices in the cream mixture all at once and then laid them on a sheet pan. This ensures that I can cook my french toast as I go, without worrying about dipping, cooking, dipping and cooking and making a mess. As soon as a piece of French toast is finished cooking, put it in the oven on your cooling rack + sheet pan set up and so it can stay warm. 

On a low heat, warm your skillet until butter starts to bubble but not brown. Cook each wet bread slice until golden brown, making sure that you "re-butter" the pan after each slice. I find that low heat works best for this because it allows the cheese to melt without overcooking the outside of the bread. 

This is the best part: Serve french toast warm with more salted butter and warmed raspberry preserves. Bonne Maman preserves is my jam, so I encourage you to get a jar to go with this recipe just because the tangy sweetness of the raspberry goes so stinking perfectly with the buttery brioche and the savory cheese. I'm still drooling about this breakfast. John, make this again for me will you? 

This post was sponsored by Bonne Maman but all opinions are my own. Thank you Bonne Maman for sponsoring this post! Did you know? Bonne Maman has no artificial coloring or preservatives and never uses GMO ingredients.... AND it just happens to be my favorite jam. Thus it was a great preserve for us to partner with.

spring eggs baked in herbs and cream (and guilt trips)

Eggs + cream + butter + garlic + parmesan + herbs = the easiest most delicious breakfast to spread on buttered toast. 

Eggs + cream + butter + garlic + parmesan + herbs = the easiest most delicious breakfast to spread on buttered toast. 

Lately John and I have been talking about our dreams and plans and what we really want out of life. We have these talks often and check in with each other and say, "Hey, how are you? Like REALLY, how are you doing, how are we doing? How's that big dream doing? Are you still feeding it?"

I feel like I've needed these talks more than John has, but maybe it's equal. 

This week in particular I have needed these talks because I feel like I am LOSING MY MIND.

John has been working extra hours, which has left me to continue parenting late into the evenings by myself instead of getting my much needed break at the end of the day.  And after enduring this days at a time, I feel so tired and tightly wound that I think the only thing that will fix me is HOURS of alone time spent in a hot tub, with a good book and a plate of warm chocolate bouchons nearby.

And also, it's lonely here still! Utah still doesn't feel like home and for some reason that adds to the difficulty of it all. 

On these long days where John is working more and it feels like I am trying to raise a little one completely on my own, it's freaking hard. Single moms, or moms who have spouses that work crazy hours, you have all my heart eyes, hugs and praise hands. I seriously don't know how you do it. I feel like a pansy. 

And sometimes I get mad at myself for getting frustrated or tired. Because I know that being a mom is a privilege and I need to savor these little moments. 

For the most part I think I'm doing a pretty good job of that. Like when my babe wakes up at 4am and I scoop him up from his crib and he buries himself into my neck and touches my face with his little chubby hands. I'll hold him and rock him in my arms and it's worth all of the missed sleep in the world. Or when he spits out his organic green veggies I worked so hard to mash and puree, and then smiles the biggest smile, as if to say, "sorry mom, that was disgusting!" It makes me laugh out loud and love him so much that I can't get mad. 

I try to soak him all up by taking pictures and videos and kissing him a million times again and again until he laughs. I know he won't be little forever, so I really am trying to treasure it.

It's days when he refuses to nap, has barfed all over my freshly cleaned sheets (I literally JUST put them on the bed) and grabs his full-of-food spoon, flinging it everywhere but his mouth and later on, STILL REFUSES TO NAP; it's those days that counter balance my "oh I'm doing such a good job of enjoying motherhood moments" and I feel like I've failed... 

So when John asks me what my dreams are or how I am doing, I spill more words than he's counted on. Because it's hard to find "you" while still being "mom". I pull myself away from the role as often as I can (which isn't very often), pursuing the things I want to pursue, all for the sake of a dream, just because I know that I need it. I need something "creative + career" based that allows me to feel sane. And even saying that out loud comes with guilt and feeling like I am a major #momfail because I feel like being a mom should be enough, but I do need a little something else. I need to be good at something else. 

Does that make sense?

Speaking of #momfail I am NOT ready to address how sleep training is going yet or my dreams, but I am ready to talk about how I've been looking for ways to pack more protein in my breakfasts. Behold these baked eggs. 

Yes they involve butter and cream (welcome to Sweetish! lol!), but they have loads of fresh herbs and 3 protein packed eggs per person - so it totally balances out. Right? 

xo

SPRING EGGS BAKED IN HERBS AND CREAM

serves 4    (3 eggs per person in 4 shallow ramekin dishes)

So! I totally got the inspiration for this recipe from an egg carton. I'm super in love with Vital Farms Eggs. They have the cutest little miniature newsletter that flutters out of the carton every time I open it, and this time, I actually read it. On this newsletter was a recipe for baked eggs. I didn't follow it exactly, which is totally an invitation to not follow this recipe exactly either. It's very much a "little of this and a little of that" kind of thing. It should be fun and easy, just the way we like things around here. 

baker's note: I mention two different baking temperatures below for one reason: because it all depends on how you like your eggs. If you want a slightly runny yolk (but still a slightly set yolk too), broil your eggs. If you want a more even bake with some soft-boiled yolks, then bake your eggs at 425° F/ 218 °C. The hardest part here is watching your eggs so that they're done to your likeness. In the pictures here I chose to broil my eggs, and they were somewhere in between slightly runny yolks and hard yolks and I was just fine with that. Using room-temperature eggs makes a difference; cold eggs can make for a slightly uneven bake - aka a little bit underdone in the middle. Room temp. eggs make for an over all even bake - but watch them closely! If you want a slightly runny yolk you take them out of the oven a little sooner than you'd think. 

baker's note #2: Shallow ramekin dishes are the BEST tool for this dish. You can find some at Crate and Barrel, Bed Bath and Beyond or Amazon

½ cup fresh herbs of your liking, I used equal amounts of flat leaf parsley, basil and thyme and it was perfect!

½ cup good quality parmesan cheese, freshly grated by you, not pre-packed

2 penny-sized (or bigger) garlic cloves, freshly grated or minced

4 tablespoons salted butter (or unsalted, doesn't matter)

4 tablespoons of cream (roughly)

12 eggs, preferably pasteur raised, at room temperature (see baker's note) 

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

big slices of country sourdough bread to serve, preferably toasted and buttered, optional, but kind of a must :) 

 

Preheat oven to broil OR 425°F / 218° C. (See baker's note above about cooking methods and time). 

Chop your herbs, grate your cheese, mince your garlic and crack your eggs - Crack 3 eggs into 4 separate "cereal" sized bowls (so 3 eggs in each bowl) and set aside, taking care not to mess up the yolk. If you break a couple of yolks don't worry, it happens to all of us! tip! Cut some extra herbs if you'd like to reserve for sprinkling on top of the eggs when they're done baking

Mix your grated cheese with your herbs and garlic in a little bowl and set aside. 

Get out a large cookie sheet, one that can hold all 4 of your shallow ramekin dishes. 

Put your ramekin dishes on your cookie sheet, and place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of cream (or a splash of cream nobody will complain!) in each. 

Pop the ramekin filled cookie sheet into the oven, until the butter melts and the cream bubbles, watch it carefully. It should be slightly browned. 

As soon as the butter and cream has bubbled, take them out of the oven onto a heat-proof surface.  Gently pour your cereal bowl eggs into each ramekin. Each ramekin should have 3 beautiful eggs nestled into each. 

Evenly sprinkle your herb + cheese + garlic mixture on top of your eggs with a sprinkling of salt and freshly cracked pepper. 

Broil: This should take anywhere from 5-9 minutes. WATCH THEM. This can be a tricky bit! If it looks like they're cooking too quickly or unevenly, tent them with some foil - leaving it open enough so you can still keep an eye on them. 

Bake at 425°F / 218C°: Takes about 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet pan about half way through.  

No matter what temperature you choose, bake until the middle the eggs look set - you should see white and they should loose their snot-like (sorry), clear appearance .

While the eggs are baking, toast some thick slices of country sourdough bread and butter liberally. 

Serve immediately with hot toast. 

If this recipe makes too many servings for you, cool the eggs, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Eat later throughout the week either cold or warmed for a protein packed breakfast. 

 

 

buttermilk cake with lemon curd and vanilla bean buttercream (easter cake part 2)

This year for lent I gave up something that was probably the hardest thing for me to give up ever.

And no, I know what you're thinking, it wasn't hot chocolate.

I gave up negativity. Specifically, I wasn't allowed to say anything negative about myself. 

I couldn't comment on pillow arms, or bald spots or huge calves. I wasn't allowed to say "I'm not good at this" every time I made something or took a picture for my blog or instagram. I wasn't allowed to re-hash life's decisions and say "what if." I wasn't allowed to say I fail at everything and I suck. I had to be 100% positive about everything and anything about me. And holy hell, it was HARD.

I'd get up in the morning and instead of groaning that I looked like a troll with dark circles and nest hair I'd say, (no joke!) "Good morning Robyn! It's early! You're tired! But you did an incredible job tending to a small human last night. You did an incredible job making sure he was comfortable and fed and safe. You're a great mom. You deserve to put on some clothes, wash that face and curl your hair."

I literally had a pep-talk-happy conversation in my head with myself EVERY goshdangmorning instead of my usual insults. 

And you know what? I actually felt happier all day.

Did I look better? Probably not.

Did I go most days naked-faced donning spandex? You bet!

Am I still bald?  

Absolutely. 

But talking to myself the way I would talk to a friend made all the difference. In fact I think it changed things so much for me I actually felt inspired and kept coming up with some pretty good ideas... AND when my sister saw me last she said I looked like I'd lost weight. Which made me LOL and feel awesome because the only thing I've been doing differently lately besides thinking more highly of myself is take longer walks and eat more frequently.... and eat more chocolate. 

I loved this challenge so much that I am going to continue it for the entire year.

By the way, this whole "let's not be negative thing" was inspired by Kate from Wood and Spoon. She posted on instagram that she was giving up negativity for lent and it resonated with me. Religiously speaking, I technically don't celebrate lent. I mean, I'm not catholic, or any other religion that celebrates it, but I love it so much that I do it every year anyway. So. The rest is history. 

Now I'm really hoping John will surprise me this Easter with some confetti filled eggs so we can have another confetti fight like last year. It's tradition. 

I hope you have a happy Easter and my friends. Know that somebunny, LOL THIS BUNNY, loves you for being here.

OH! And this cake!!! I almost forgot! I stinking LOVE this cake and I've been dying to share it with you. It's the perfect amount of sweetness and tart. The buttermilk cake is buttery and marries perfectly with the buttercream and lemon curd. They're all besties. This probably goes without saying, but I will never post a recipe I don't adore - especially a good frosting / cake / lemon curd recipe... but I have to say this buttercream is particularly amaze to the Easter egg balls.  xo

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
— Roald Dahl

buttermilk cake with lemon curd and vanilla bean butter cream 

adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

cake: makes one 8" or 9" 2 layered cake (4 layers if you cut the layers like I did) serving 10-12

buttercream: makes about 5 cups, or enough to frost one 8" or 9" cake and have enough to decorate

I'm so sorry I don't instruct you on how to make the little marzipan bunnies I made for this cake. You probably totally have time to make them like I did, huh? (EYE ROLL) Truth is they took me longer than I'd like, lol and someday I'll come around with a bunny tutorial but for now try to search for a similar method on pinterest if you're crazy like me. ;)

*bakers note: The cakes, frosting and lemon curd can all be made a day or two ahead of time and then assembled the day of or the day before. If you make the buttercream frosting ahead of time and store it in the fridge, break it up into pieces and using an electric mixer, beat it with the paddle attachment until it becomes room temperature and light and fluffy again. It's scary cause it seems like it's not going to come back together but it will! Sometimes if it's a particularly cold day, I'll run hot water around (not in) my bowl for a few seconds to get things movin.'  xo 

for lemon curd recipe go to this post. 

for the buttermilk cake: 

¾ cup / 170g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the pans

2 cups / 280g cake flour, plus more for the pan (I just used regular flour) 

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

¾ cup / 200g buttermilk at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 ½ cups / 300g sugar 

2 large eggs + 2 large yolks at room temperature 

 

Preheat oven to 325° F/ 162° C. 

Prepare two 8" OR two 9" cake pans, lining them with parchment paper first, then greasing them with butter and flour. Please note: I used 8" cake pans for this cake, and I baked a higher altitude thus my cakes required a slightly longer baking time. 

Sift together all dry ingredients in a big bowl. 

In a separate small bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla and set aside. 

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-8 minutes.

Add one egg at a time to the butter + sugar mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each egg is incorporated. Beat for 15 seconds. 

Add your yolks one at a time. Batter should be smooth. 

Remove the bowl from the electric mixer and fold in the the dry ingredients with a spatula in 4 additions, alternating with the vanilla buttermilk mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. 

Spoon batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 35mins to slightly over 1 hour. I know, the range of time is ridiculous. See my bakers note above, but don't be discouraged. The cake should be golden brown, and a cake tester should come out clean with a few crumbs stuck to it when inserted into the cake. Wait for the cake to cool completely before cutting into layers. 

to assemble:

Cut each layer in half with a long serrated knife, creating 4 layers total and sandwiched each layer with a generous helping of lemon curd. I pipped my lemon curd layers in but you can easily spoon it on. Perfection is not our end game here, only deliciousness, so don't stress if the filling isn't perfectly even. I sure didn't. 

Put a "crumb coat" of buttercream frosting on the cake, let that chill in the fridge to set for 20 minutes and then frost with the rest of the butter cream frosting. 

Crumb coat = thin layer of frosting that brings all the crumbs to the party so you can frost it again without bringing the crumbs to the party. 

for lemon curd recipe go to this post. 

for vanilla bean butter cream: 

bakers note: Okay, real quick. This time, I had better luck with this recipe when I used more egg whites. I know they say baking is an exact science but to me 90% of it is initiative. Use your gut. The original recipe calls for only 4 egg whites but after trial and error, adding more egg whites worked better for me. It's dry here in Utah, and I'm at a high altitude, I'm guessing that had something to do with it. Don't stress too much about it. You want your egg whites + sugar mixture to be a wet and snotty (sorry). If it seems like its too thick with sugar (aka not a snot consistency), add more egg white. 

2 vanilla beans, split half lengthwise or 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste

4-6 large egg whites (I used 6 because my egg whites seemed a little on the small side) 

1 cup / 200g sugar, preferably superfine only because it dissolves quicker

2 cups / 454g unsalted butter, softened 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if using vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla beans, only use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract) 

½ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pods and set aside. tip! Stick the scraped pods in your sugar container to make vanilla sugar! 

Fill a medium sized saucepan with a little bit of water (about 2-3 inches). The saucepan needs to be big enough to place a glass bowl on top, but make sure the bowl does NOT touch the water. 

Put egg whites and sugar in the glass bowl that will fit over your medium sized saucepan. 

Bring the water in the medium sized saucepan to a gentle simmer. Place the glass bowl on top of the saucepan and whisk gently for about 8-10 minutes, or until mixture becomes 160°F / 71°C. You'll know it's ready because the mixture should be too hot to hold your finger in the mixture for a long time, but not too hot to touch. 

Remove egg white mixture from the heat and pour into your electric mixing bowl. With the whisk attachment whisk heated egg whites and sugar until it looks like a stiff cloud or shaving cream. The mixture should cool as it whips, and the outside of the bowl should feel room temperature. 

On a medium speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until the butter is fully incorporated, scraping the bowl about halfway. 

Add vanilla bean seeds, extract and salt and whip for 30 seconds. 

Use buttercream immediately, or store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3-5 days. Take care that buttercream can absorb any flavor it's around, so it's important that it's sealed well. See *bakers note above if you'd like to store it chilled for a few days.

lemon curd (easter cake part 1)

Has someone ever said something to you super nonchalantly but it's stuck with you forever? There's a handful of sentences that have stuck with me like honey on a bear....and one of them was said to me by this really quirky personal trainer.

"You're really serious." He said to me once. "I can just tell you're a really serious person." 

Side note: This was forever ago, when mom and I decided to take up a personal trainer to get stronger. We'd been throwing medicine balls and making our muscles ache for a few months at this point. 

I laughed. "REALLY?" I said shocked and offended, "I think you're the first person that's ever called me serious."  

I paused. 

"I'm a Sagittarius? I can be really blunt? I don't really have tolerance for bull crap and I do have an uncanny talent for speaking up." I had to defend myself in some way. SERIOUS?! Come on! I'm FUN DANG IT. He shook his head and told me, "Nah, that's not it, you're just serious."  

I mean who is this guy?

That was the first time I realized he was right, I could be a very serious person.

I think of that accusation sometimes when I start writing a blog post.

Like the start of this one was me weeping over the deaths of innocent children in Syria but then I realized that you friends have probably already read all about it, and are crying with me and are probably already being proactive and helping and rehashing the sad stuff isn't going to do us any good.... unless we focus on the good we can do

See? I don't mean to be so serious. I'm never afraid to talk about the tough stuff, but I do find that being a new still very sleep deprived mom, I can lean more on the serious side of things lately.... I just want to scoop up all the children and hug them forever. You too?

Can we talk about lemon curd?

And the fact that I ate my husband's bouchon today?

Did that sound dirty?

Don't tell him I ate it. It's his fault for not eating it sooner and my fault for not having any self control... but mostly his fault because you can't just leave something like that lying around. 

Okay, lemon curd. I decided to split up the post for my Easter cake (aka my lemon curd filled buttermilk cake with vanilla bean buttercream) because it requires alotta butter and 3 different recipes. 

I KNOW.

And as I write this I am reminded of this awesome author who said she HATES when a recipe calls for another recipe... I was TOTALLY on her side until I realized, sometimes I'm her own worst nightmare... But, this cake is worth it.  

Stay tuned.

Love you friends. xo 

 

voluptuous lemon curd  

adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Makes about 2 1/2 cups, enough to fill one 8" or 9" cake or one 9" inch tart or to fill 10 eclairs

 Voluptuous is a word that reminds me of Jessica Rabbit, but appropriately used here because the amount of butter makes its super "bouncy in body"... and the author of this recipe used that word to describe it in the recipe notes and I'm like YES. 

bakers note: *I realize that it's a personality thing but when I read a recipe I try to decide if any of the steps are superfluous. I simplified this one just a tinge because who really minds lemon zest in their lemon curd? The original recipe calls for straining it out, but this homy ain't about to do that because #newmomlife. I say that because if the zest bothers you, strain it out with a fine mesh strainer before using. If you're making this for the Easter cake it can be made up to a week ahead of time, and kept in the fridge, tightly wrapped. And even if you don't wanna make the cake you need a good fool-proof lemon curd recipe right?

 

5 to 8 unwaxed lemons for  1 cup / 241g lemon juice, and 3 of lemons to be used for zesting

4 large eggs, preferably pasture raised

1 cup / 200g sugar 

1 cup (2 sticks) 227 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, preferably organic 

 

Zest 3 lemons trying not to remove any of the white part or the "pith". This stuff is bitter, nutritionally speaking it's actually really good for us, but it's bitter and we don't want it our lemon curd. 

Cut and juice these same zested lemons plus your extra lemons until you reach the required amount of juice needed for the recipe, 1 cup or 241g. (For me it took 4.5 lemons.)

Fill a medium sized saucepan with a little bit of water (about 2-3 inches). The saucepan needs to be big enough to place a glass bowl on top, but make sure the bowl does NOT touch the water. 

Bring the water in the medium sized saucepan to a gentle simmer - but don't put the glass bowl on top yet. 

While you're waiting for the water to simmer, bring lemon juice and zest to a boil in a different small saucepan. 

While you're waiting for your liquids to heat up, whisk eggs and sugar in your glass bowl (the glass bowl you're going to put over the simmering water).

Ladle about 1/3 of the hot lemon juice into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. We are tempering our eggs here or "bringing our eggs up to speed" aka making the eggs the same temperature as the hot liquid so they don't curdle. 

Slowly add the remaining hot lemon juice to the egg mixture whisking constantly until combined. 

Put this glass bowl mixture over your medium sized saucepan with the simmering water. (Remember the bowl should NOT touch the water!) The steam from the water is going to help "cook" our eggs and create a custard. 

Whisk this mixture faithfully until it gets thick - about 10-15 minutes maybe a little sooner or longer - watch it. Temperature it should be around 140°F or be able to coat the back of a spoon, and should leave a line when you run your finger across it. 

If you want to strain* your curd, strain it now. (See baker's note.) 

Whisk in the cold chunks of butter until incorporated. 

When the curd is smooth and butter disappears, cover the bowl with plastic wrap directly touching the surface so it doesn't form a skin. Keep tightly wrapped in the fridge for at least 3 hours before using, preferably chilled over night. 

This stuff lasts for up to two weeks if tightly wrapped and kept chilled. 

buttermilk oats with dark sugar and raspberries

Simple and nourishing yet still feels indulgent because of the touch of dark sugar. This breakfast is more of an idea than a recipe, but one to keep and make again and again. 

Simple and nourishing yet still feels indulgent because of the touch of dark sugar. This breakfast is more of an idea than a recipe, but one to keep and make again and again. 

This might be weird for you, this whole buttermilk and oats thing, but it's kind of my like my life right now. Weird. Wonderful. Unexpected. Also, I'm 100% sleep deprived, so give me alllllll the carbs. 

My sweet boy got sick with a cold, and we've completely regressed with the whole sleeping thing and after a week of waking up 3+ times a night, and not really napping, this mama's about to lose it. So now that he's all better, we've hit sleep training hard. Real hard, because I've just realized that I haven't slept longer than 3-4 hour stretches in 6 months.

It's time.

I'm so tired of being so tired. 

So while it's probably the most painful thing I've ever experienced other than childbirth, (because he cries endlessly when we lay him down and he just has to to work it out) sweet boy is slowly learning that he CAN have a decent bedtime, that naps are a luxury to be enjoyed NOW (I told him, trust me you're gonna want these when you're an adult) and that he doesn't need to party with mom and dad all night (but mostly mom)

John's all about sleep training but I needed some more emotional support. After a good phone call with my mom she reminded me that I deserve sleep, and that he's old enough and strong enough, so it's time to put on the tough-cookie pants and bucker up with the sleep training. "It'll break your heart but he's got to learn." She also told me, "Remember that a happy mom, a "well rested" mom is better mom. It's good for you and it's good for him."   

Amen.  

It's been really hard to think of myself lately. So my mom telling me I deserve sleep and here's how to make it happen had me doing gospel choir praise hands. (ps. I have a thing for gospel choirs. Like, as in it's a dream of mine to sing in one one day and have the congregation clap with me and have a gut-busting solo.)

Being pregnant, recovering from birth, breast feeding and having a baby that doesn't sleep - all of it just kinda makes me crave some "me" time.... and also, I want my body back. I feel like more sleep will maybe help with this?

Moms, how do you strike that balance of being mom and "it's about me right now small one, please just chill". Is there such a thing? I haven't found it yet.... although sleep training is training me to be tougher and weirdly think of myself.... And being stricter about nap time is helping me gain some much needed breaks throughout the day: hello, sanity, I've missed you. 

Anyway these oats are not really a recipe - more like a suggestion of ingredients and a good breakfast that can easily be made ahead of time and then heated up quickly in the morning. And I've been really into them because I need something to persuade me to stop drinking so much hot chocolate. 

May your weekend be filled with at least one nap, some "you" time and a warm bowl of breakfast. xo 

 

buttermilk oats with dark sugar and raspberries 

serves 2

I love the tang of the buttermilk with the brown sugar here... and the burst of tartness you get from the raspberries is just perfection. If I had my own brunch bakery, this bowl of goodness would totally be on the menu. 

bakers note:  I love buying fresh raspberries and then freezing them so they remain beautifully whole. Since berry season is just starting to bud around here, imma about to stock up. Woot-woot!

 

1 cup steal cut oats 

4 cups filtered water 

1/4 tsp kosher salt 

1/2 cup buttermilk or any milk of your choice if you buttermilk weirds you out

2ish tablespoons muscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or any sweetener of your choice) 

hand full of frozen raspberries, crushed

additional toppings (optional) unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, walnuts, and more milk of your choice

 

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and then add 1 cup of steal cut oats + salt. Simmer until the oats have absorbed the liquid but are still a bit saucy, add more water if needed. Stir in 1/2 cup buttermilk and top with dark sugar, raspberries and other toppings of your choice. 

no-bake salted peanut butter "cookies" | the first mess cookbook giveaway!

We flew home recently for my best friends wedding. After a freak snow storm in March and endless cloudy days it was sooooo good to feel the warm sun of California again. (ps. We mentioned our trip home to a few new friends we've made here in Utah and we've noticed that a lot of native Utahns call California, "Cali" and it's officially one of my pet peeves. I want to correct them and say it's California, not Cali, but I don't because it's rude. It's probably rude that I'm talking about it right now, huh? But am I alone in this? My peeps, we don't call California, Cali RIGHT?!! Stop it! :D)

The day was perfectly her. She was surrounded by her best girlfriends (half of us have been BFFS since we were 7) all wearing blush pink and holding english roses and praising how beautiful she looked. Her dress was beaded, fitted and sparkly with a small band of diamonds in her hair. She was RADIANT and by the end of the reception she had a send off that was probably the best send off I've ever seen: a full-blown confetti canon that was loud and shot gold confetti EVERYWHERE. It felt like it rained gold for days, it was completely and totally HER.

This last trip home was especially wonderful because I had help from my mom. When I'm here, in Utah, I check the clock way too many times in the afternoon because I'm exhausted from taking care of a small babe all day and could really use an adult or a nap. Since neither of those are a very likely option, behold these no-bake cookies. They're Laura Wright's recipe, from her gorgeous new masterpiece, The First Mess Cookbook.  

These bad boys are brilliant, addicting, nourishing (no sugar and nut-powered) and the PERFECT sweet bite to pick you up in the afternoon. After you eat one it's like having another mom around because you just have that much energy.  

And not only are these awesome for you, they're awesome for your people too. It's hard to find a cookie you feel totally great about feeding your little one you know? But these are soft enough to feed your really littles, and I think they freeze beautifully if you want to double the batch and freeze some for later. There's nothing more I love than feeding my people a treat that's good for them and this cookbook is FULL of beautiful recipes like this one that I'm dying to make. So guess what? 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

YAY! Because I love you and this gorgeous book, I'm giving away a copy of The First Mess Cookbook to one of you beautiful friends! Woohoo! All you have to do is leave a comment on here below and I'll announce the winner on Monday. (Confetti emojis) 

Trust me, this book is one to treasure.

Congrats to my crazy talented blog-friend Laura for creating such a stunner of a book. I can't stop looking through it. Love you friends and good luck! xo

Update: Contest only open to US and Canadian residents only. Sorry I forgot to mention that earlier!! Can you tell I'm a newb?!

******GIVEAWAY CLOSED!***** (I just straight up wrote all of your names down and picked out of a hat. The winner has been notified:)  :D

I wish I could have given away one to all of you!! Thank you so much for your comments and for entering! I'll do this again. xo) 

14. Looking up.jpg

no-bake salted peanut butter "cookies"

Reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright

I soaked my dates in some boiling water because they were a little dry. I think this messed with the consistency just a bit, so I added some spoonfuls of flax seed and a tablespoon of almond meal to stiffen up my mixture. I didn't find that my additions messed with the deliciousness of the cookies at all. In fact John just asked me to make these again, and I'm quite sure if Myles could talk, he'd be asking for them too. 

1 cup / 250g raw almonds (I did half almonds, half pecans for fun)

½ cup / 125ml unsalted smooth, natural peanut butter

1 cup / 250g Medjool dates, pitted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (I squeezed in an extra teaspoon)

flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, grind the raw almonds on high until you have a course meal, about 30 seconds.

Add the peanut butter, pitted dates, vanilla, and lemon juice to the food processor. Pulse the mixture a couple of times to get everything moving. Then mix with the food processor on high speed until have a uniform "dough" that clumps together.

Using a rough measure of 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons / 22 to 30g per cookie, portion the dough into balls and place on the baking sheet. Press the balls down, either with the palm of your hand or the tines of a dinner fork. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the flaky sea salt.

Place the cookies in the refrigerator for at least an hour to firm up. The cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. 

jeans and chocolate pots de crème

pots de creme is french for really easy and decadent chocolate pudding. 

pots de creme is french for really easy and decadent chocolate pudding. 

The other day my husband John noticed that I wore jeans for the first time in months. Never mind that there are now parts of me that spill over the jeans resembling one of my favorite breakfast pastries, the point is, I can finally zip them up. 

Always failing to see the worst parts of me, John slapped my butt and said, "Hot mama!"

This whole exchange made me laugh and feel attractive, which is also something I haven't felt in months because spandex, hair loss (I'm literally pulling out small nests every time I wash my hair and have a bald spot, FREAKING AGAIN), newfound-breakout-like-I'm-14-again-face and soft bulky sweatshirts can only do so much for your self esteem.

I keep thinking I'm alone in all of this. Like why does no one talk about how motherhood makes you feel like an insane potato sack most of the time? I'm constantly rubbing spit-up or poop off of my pants (my baby's poop, not mine), my hair's up and a gross mess and it's not just my outside that struggles, it's my insides too. 

Motherhood for me, is flat out, the hardest thing I've ever done and SUCH a juxtaposition of emotions; several times a day I find myself longing to be back at my fast paced career making money, but a bigger part of me is okay being poor so I can stay home with my son. It's a lot of self doubt mixed with "wow I can't believe I can do this"; it's I JUST changed you into clean clothes when they poop all over themselves again, it's longing for independence but as soon as you're away from your babe you miss them, it's putting everything on the line for them, your sanity, your sleep, your health, your career, everything - at least for me it's been everything. It's breaking me and re-shaping me in the best possible way.  

Okay okay, no more early motherhood #momtales. Sorry I keep talking about it. I just feel like we need to talk about it? I have so much more to say about it all too, but have I lost you? Is this boring? 

Anyway, these pudding pots are like a butt slap. 

They give you that boost you need to feel like you are REALLY attractive in the kitchen. Because they're easy and quick, but taste like you spent days making them. And they're pretty rich too, but the good rich. The kind of rich where the guy still drives around a 10 year old car but makes millions because he's cool and humble like that.  

And because motherhood has a way of lathering you in all kinds of humble, today we celebrate that I can zip up my jeans again with chocolate and cream. Love you friends. 

chocolate pots de crème

adapted from Melissa Clark, via the New York Times

I make the whipped cream for these babies extra sweet to balance out the rich bittersweetness of the chocolate creme. Cream to balance out more cream. I think it works perfectly. 

1 ½ cups / 353ml heavy cream, preferably from pasture-raised cows 

½ cup / 118ml whole milk, preferably from pasture-raised cows

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (think 60% cocao content or higher) 

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped finely 

4 egg yolks, preferably from pasture raised eggs

3 tablespoons / 51g sugar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt (I didn't measure this, I just used a pinch) 

cocoa powder, sprinkles or chocolate shavings to garnish, optional

 

whipped cream:

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until soft peaks form and spoon on top of the chocolate pots de creme when cooled.  

1 cup / 235ml heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons / 28g sugar

½ - 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, paste or extract 

 

Preheat oven to 300° F / 180° C. 

In a medium sized sauce pan heat milk and cream over low heat until it just reaches a boil. Remove from heat immediately and slowly whisk in chopped chocolate. 

In a separate, large-ish bowl, whisk egg yolks, salt and sugar together. 

Then, using a steady hand, slowly stream the chocolate cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Tip: Pour just a little bit of the hot cream mixture into the yolks, whisk it furiously, and then continue to poor the rest. 

Divide mixture among any oven-proof small-ish cup-like dishes of your choice. Espresso cups, ramekins, jars, etc. I used 4 ounce ramekins the first time I made this and generously filled them and came up with 5 total. Then I used the large dishes you see here and came up with 4.

Set cups on a cookie sheet or roasting pan lined with parchment so the cups don't slip. Carefully pour water into the pan, so it reaches no more than half way up the cups. Don't fret too much about how much water can fit in your pan, the point of the water is to create steam and let the pots cook gently so they don't crack.

Bake until edges are set but the middle remains jiggly, about 30-35 mins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let the chocolate pots continue to cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. Top with fresh sweet whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. 

peppermint sundaes with bittersweet chocolate sauce

 We're going through sleep regression right now. Which means my sweet, happy babe who used to sleep for 6-8 hour stretches is now waking up every hour at a certain point in the night, screaming. It kills me on many levels. 

You know that scene in Elf where Emily asks, "So Buddy, how'd you sleep?" And he says, "Great! I got a full 40 minutes!" Hashtag, SO MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. 

I keep thinking, this no sleep thing is going to get easier. Kinda like a cold water plunge - Like that I'll get used to it, just keep swimming.  But I'm so not used to it yet. Mothers out there do you ever get used to it?

It's weird because I miss my life and what it was like before this little guy entered it, but I wouldn't trade it or go back for anything. Even sleep. 

Motherhood has taught me to guard my time; say no if you really mean no, be braver, eat more chocolate (hence this sauce) and try harder to film and photograph every day moments - because every sound (right now Myles can make sounds like a dolphin and it's fantastic), and smile and giggle and wiggle melts me and I must record it. It's taught me that life is precious and it goes by too fast. It's taught me to love more and love harder. 

I love these little people, and it is not a slight thing when they who are so fresh from God love us.
— Charles Dickens
peppermint ice cream

Motherhood somehow, even though I struggle to know what day it is and remember the last time I've eaten, has somehow helped me find more of myself than I ever thought was possible.

It's inspired me to make new goals and to take better care of myself, because it's not just about me anymore.

I read this quote once that went something like "don't ever apologize for doing something that makes you feel better about yourself, because if you're a happier person you're going to be a better mom." 

Sometimes I feel bad for finishing my mascara on one eye instead of rushing to my baby when he cries, but then I remember, I need this eye to have mascara on it so I feel better, and if I feel better, I'm a better mom. This can apply to us as women in every regard. We're nurturing creatures, and I think it's important that we take the time to do what makes us happy so we can get out there and give more.  

We also need lots of chocolate and ice cream.

Am I rambling now? I'm sorry, I really haven't had much sleep lately.  

 Now here's a list of "What I wish I could make this weekend but probably wont because #newmomlife"; aka links from some bloggers I simply LOVE. 

What I wish I could make this weekend: 

This Myer Lemon Cheesecake with a chocolate bottom from Kate. Ps. if you haven't heard about Kate yet, she's amazing. (No words, only heart eyes.) 

This Brussels Slaw from Sara. I feel like I could eat this for days and never tire of it.... especially if I added bacon. 

This Greens and Beans Soup from Sherrie. I really need to eat something else besides mac and cheese or toast for dinner.

I have a problem with loving rice pudding too much, and since I can't stop thinking about Amanda's Vanilla Rice Pudding with Cherries , it's just confirming my problem. 

I've made spaghetti squash once and it was a horrifying experience. But this recipe from Laura has me reconsidering my distain because her Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Arugula Cream sounds amaze. 

More to come. Happy weekend my friends. xo 

 

bittersweet chocolate sauce 

adapted from jenis 

makes 2-ish cups

This is the sauce we had for my birthday dessert - peppermint sundaes. We've made it several times since. It also makes for a smashing cup of hot cocoa, when you add several table spoons of the sauce to some warm milk (almond milk is fantastic too!) and stir. 

bakers note: This sauce is referred to as fudge-sauce in Jeni's cookbook, but to me, it's much more of a syrup-sauce. It can be a little on the thin side, so I reduced the water from 1 cup to 1/2 cup to thicken it up a bit. This sauce also solidifies once it hits the cold ice cream, which makes for a fun contrast of textures: the chewy with the smooth and creamy.  

1/2 to 3/4s cup water (up to 1 cup of water if you want really thin sauce)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup light, organic corn syrup 

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (the best quality you can afford)

1 teaspoon vanilla 

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped  (the best quality you can afford)

5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped  (the best quality you can afford)

 

Over a medium heat, bring water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil until sugar dissolves, stirring slightly. Remove mixture from heat, and slowly whisk in the cocoa powder until combined. Next whisk in the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract, whisking together until combined and smooth. Serve sauce warm over peppermint ice cream, or any ice cream you choose. 

Store sauce in an air-tight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.

why is this good for me?

peppermint - improves digestion and stress and helps with nausea and reduces congestion and coughs. Although I'm not sure how much of the peppermint in peppermint ice cream helps with that, but I always feel calmer after eating the stuff. Maybe it's in my head - but I feel like there's a reason we serve peppermint ice cream around the holidays. ;) 

bittersweet chocolate - bittersweet chocolate is chocolate that has a 70% cocoa content or higher. Raw cocoa is really the stuff that helps us the most - as it's chocolate in it's purest form, but I can't help but think that dark chocolate helps us in some way too. Chocolate is supposed to help us fight stress by combating our free radicals (aka our stress) with it's antioxidant properties. It's also a mood booster. I crave it lots right now and definitely feel it's effects. It also contains a small portion of caffinee.... which may just explain everything right there. 

2016: confessions, reflections and recipes

I’ve been reviewing this past year just a little bit because I’ve needed to remind myself that I have actually accomplished some things besides changing poopy diapers and keeping a small baby alive. 

Although now that I type that out maybe I just need to mic drop my year right there and say YEEAAAASSSSS I survived birth, breast feeding, no sleep and keeping my baby ALIVE. (And moving across 3 states with a 3 week old?!)

Side note: You guys, breast feeding is not easy. It’s amazing and worth it, but it’s HARD. Maybe it’s just me - But I miss sleep and freedom real bad. All those gorgeous mamas with perfect boob pics that you see floating around instagram nursing their precious little babes  - yeah, I am SO far from that. Maybe I’m a terrible person for admitting this? I want my privacy, my boobs covered and to not feel like a cow getting milked every time I pump. It’s all a love + hate thing for sure. Okay, I’m done. Well wait, I guess I just wanted to mention that there are some of us who aren’t in LOVE with breast feeding, but do it anyway because it’s good for me and my baby - and I’m healthy and able so I choose to do it - and I guess when all is said and done, it is a beautiful bonding experience, but it's still not crazy easy and perfect. Okay, now I’m done. 

John was ready with his goals for this year. Which made me super proud. When he asked me what mine were I told him - “Survive and enjoy my first year of motherhood". 

Oh! And read more books. 

And make more bread...

but eat more vegetables.

I also want to post on here more and post content that isn’t just a story and a recipe. I happy emoji cried when I read Sara’s post about the New Year, and how we are totally on the same wave length with not making posting such a “thing”. Cause you know, it takes a lot of effort and time to post these recipes and pics and there's SO much more I want to share, but I stop from sharing it because I think, eh, it’s a food blog, am I allowed to share something different? Yes? It doesn't seem good enough to post, so I just don't post. I let perfection and comparison stifle my progress and I want to be better about that. I’m focusing on non-perfection and doing my own thing. “You do you” if you will.  Is that a good New Years goal? 

Okay, my babe is hungry (yay breast feeding!).  I’ll talk to you again soon. In the meantime here are some of my favorite pics and recipes from this past year.

Happy New Year my friends. Thank you for being a part of my year, it's been... wonderfully life changing.  

xo

Top favorite recipes posted in 2016:

(click on the picture, and it will take you to the recipe!) 

THE cake, made for grandma's birthday. (For many of you, this became your favorite cake too! A million heart emojis of thanks.)

bittersweet chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

bittersweet chocolate cake with buttercream frosting

The cookies I made for John for his first "pre-fathers day". These practically went global (lol): I have a cousin in Utah that sent us a pic of him posing with this cookie and his beard dubbing it: the man cookie. Perfect.  

salted oatmeal cornflake cookie, aka the man cookie 

salted oatmeal cornflake cookie, aka the man cookie 

Our big news and my favorite easy banana cake. (So many of you made this and loved it! Happy emoji tears again.)

chocolate chip banana cake

chocolate chip banana cake

When I told you we were moving over salad (Sad emoji tears this time. But, so many of you sent me so much love and support when you heard the news and for that I am forever grateful):

the best cesear salad dressing

the best cesear salad dressing

And because I found the time to take a shower and make pie all in the same day: (Got wild good feedback on the whole - early motherhood is no joke thing AND this pie recipe. Thank you for helping me feel sane, and making pie with me friends, I really like you a lot. xo) 

apple pie with hint of cheddar crust 

apple pie with hint of cheddar crust 

Gooey cinnamon rolls with tangy cream cheese icing

It's currently 2:30 in the morning. I couldn't sleep. My small babe needed to be nursed not so long ago and I couldn't stop thinking about how I've been working on this cinnamon roll post for over a month and still haven't hit publish.

I can't decide if I have a problem with perfection, or if I'm just too dang tired to proof read everything. So, here I am in front of a glowing computer screen, listening to a snoring dog and writing to you. I lit the fire and turned on my twinkle lights to feel extra cozy. 

The early weeks and months of motherhood are lonely. Often I found myself in the wee hours of the morning, in a chair, freezing my buns off, nursing a small babe thinking how nice it would be to talk to someone right now. I have turned to my favorite movie (About Time) and my phone for company.

Recently, through many of these silent nights, I can't help but think of the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place. That long ago, Mary had her own sweet baby boy in a very holy and sacred night. I'm sure there were so many times where she felt lonely and lost. I'm sure there were so many times where she looked down at her small little babe of a boy and had no idea what was to come. 

My heart hurts because I love this boy of mine so much. Even still, I have cried days upon days because of how hard this move and transition has been for me. I'm quite sure I had a touch of postpartum depression. I would get stuck on things like how am I supposed to feel okay taking my baby out in 23 degree weather? I would never have to deal with this at home in Southern California. How do I scrape ice off of a windshield again? No I'm not hungry, all I want is a blanket and hot chocolate because I'm too cold to think. I've been so worried about keeping my baby warm and safe and dry and healthy that I feel this change and the weather have added much unwanted stress. 

I think I'm okay now though. While I'm still not super used to everything, I haven't cried in at least two weeks and I found the time to make cinnamon rolls twice and deliver them to neighbors. 

I've also tried to think outside myself... I haven't done the best job of it, but I have tried. I've tried to remember why we really celebrate Christmas in the first place, and again, my thoughts are always brought back to that silent night.

Because I never had to ride a donkey for days to deliver my child. Or deliver him among animals outside in the middle of the night. I don't know if Mary every complained about how cold it was, or how alone she felt, but I'm sure, the moment she held her little boy in her arms, she felt her heart would burst out of her chest because of how much she loved him. 

That love, is something I want to focus on this Christmas. Because this year has been heartbreakingly hard for me, but it's also been so unexplainably wonderful because we've had Myles. 

And even though I miss sleep, I love the precious quiet of the early morning where it's just me and him. 

To get him back to sleep in the wee hours of the night I sing to him and he just lights up like a Christmas tree when I sing Silent Night. It's like he's trying to remind me of something. Funny, how such a small little person who only smiles, cries and sleeps, can really teach you everything. 

Happy Christmas my friends. I hope it's a good one. xo 

Gooey cinnamon rolls with tangy cream cheese icing

inspired by one of my favorites Sarah Kieffer of The Vanilla Bean blog, brioche dough recipe from the brilliant Zoe Francois 

We have cinnamon rolls every Christmas Eve. It's one of the amazing traditions my family started around this magical time of year and a Christmas without them just isn't right. My take on cinnamon rolls is that they have to be gooey, and the icing has to be tangy to balance all of that sweetness out. All too often a cinnamon roll is lathered in more too-sweet powdered-sugar-and-milk icing and it kills me. Give me the tang of cream cheese with my roll! I hope you like these as quickly as they disappear in my family. xo

bakers note - I completely over stuff my cinnamon rolls - so much so that the filling is spilling and bubbling out when baked and it makes gooey pools at the bottom of the pan. No one's ever complained thus far. So, if you're looking at this recipe like holy hell that's a lot of filling, it's because it is. I also make cinnamon rolls in the masses. Because why not? They're so fun to give away. But if you'd like, this recipe can be cut in half - just take note you'll need to knead the dough after the first rise, a little bit longer to develop the gluten. 

 

dough 

1 ½ cups / 350ml lukewarm water

1 tablespoon yeast (I used Active Dry, but Red Star Platinum, or Quick-Rise yeast is also recommended)  (1 packet)

1 to 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

8 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

½ cup / 170ml honey 

1 ½ cups / 3 sticks / 340g unsalted butter, melted

7 ½ - 8 ½ cups / 875g - 1125g unbleached all-purpose flour (you'll also need more flour for kneading the dough and to add to the dough once it's risen a first time) 

 

Mix the honey with the lukewarm* water. Add the yeast. Stir it up just a bit with a spoon. 

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs just slightly. Add the yeast mixture and melted butter and mix. 

Add flour slowly, about ¼ cup at a time, with the mixer speed on low. Mix until it forms a very very wet, sticky, sticky dough. 

Pour sticky, almost-unmanageable dough into a large butter-greased bowl. Keep covered with a clean cloth or plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Then let dough rest in the fridge for another 3 hours. This dough is really hard to work with when it's warm, so make sure it's throughly chilled. You can let the dough rest at this stage for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, just make sure it's covered in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out. So, I made my dough one day ahead of time and let it rest over night in the fridge. I call this stage the "first rise". 

Knead your cold dough on a floured surface for about 30 seconds to 1 minute to develop the gluten. Then divide dough into three parts. With a rolling pin, roll each dough part into a rectangle-ish shape that's about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. Remember the longer the rectangle, the wider your cinnamon rolls will be. (Work with just one dough ball at a time though, don't roll out 3 rectangles all at once okay?)

Now you're ready to make your filling. See below.  

* lukewarm = you stick your finger in the water and you can't feel the water. It should be body temperature. If the water is too warm it will kill the yeast.

 

Filling: 

Please note this makes enough filling for the entire dough recipe. If you're only using half of the dough, then cut this filling recipe in half. ;) 

2 cups / 4 sticks / 455g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (please don't panic if you only have salted butter, use it!)

4 cups / 800g dark brown sugar (if you don't have dark brown sugar, use light!)

8 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg (totally optional)

½ teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, omit this salt) 


Mix the soft butter, brown sugar, salt and spices together in a bowl to create a paste. You'll have to divide the filling according to how you've divided the dough. I divided my dough in 3 large parts thus divided my filling to match. Does that make sense? I didn't measure it exactly. 

Spread your filling all over the surface of dough. It's like finger painting with sugary butter and everything about that concept is right.

Roll up the dough very tightly. With a strong piece of string cut the roll about every 1 ½ - 2 inches. This created the beautiful cinnamon spirals. Place those babies on a lightly butter-greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Cover, and let rise until double in size (about 2-4 hours). I call this the "second rise". 

Bake at 350° degrees for 15-25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Try not to over bake. Frost while rolls are still warm. 

 

My Favorite Cream Cheese Frosting: 

adapted from Baking Illustrated

8 ounces of cream cheese, softened but still cool

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 tablespoon sour cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) confectioners' (powdered) sugar

Whip in an electric mixer the cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla until combined and smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar about ½ cup at a time, mixing in slowly at first so you avoid a powdered sugar facial.  Whip until lumps are gone. Spread over rolls while rolls are still warm so the frosting seeps into all the crooks and crannies. 

 

tart apple pie with a hint of cheddar crust

I have circles under my eyes and my hair smells like burger... and that's just the start of it.

John congratulated me on going to the store “all by myself” the other night. I went out to buy chocolate chips, brownie mix, marshmallows and cheese.

The necessities.  

Me going out on my own was a big step towards normalcy. Lately I’ve been sending happy little text messages asking John if he can pick up something on the way home from work (like burgers for dinner) because I don’t want to go out. I’ve definitely been housebound with this new little babe of mine. It doesn’t help that I’m living in a brand new area, with like, no friends and nothing’s familiar. I’m also really paranoid about baby Myles getting sick because he’s still so new... ANNNND it’s also cold outside, and I am, for the record, a wimp when it comes to any type of “weather”. I’m used to summertime all the time… when I saw ice on our lawn yesterday morning I was: 😑  

My pup Sundae, on the other hand, has been adjusting to this new life of huge changes like a champ. She loves baby Myles and tries to smother him with kisses every time he’s at her level. She sits by him protectively when he’s in his little swing and sometimes beats me to him when he suddenly starts crying and I’m quickly peeing in the bathroom and can’t quite get to him. When I rush out of the bathroom to tend to him, there’s Sundae, sitting loyally by his side. It kills me.  

When John comes home with food and we’re all sitting on the couch watching something on Netflix (like The Crown, I'm obsessed) and I see my little babe in my arms and a snoring pup by the fireplace and my BFF to my right I feel like life is really good...

Even though there are dark circles under my eyes, and my hair smells like burger.

I know that someday I'll be normal again, because you know, I’ve got my squad.  

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your squad too and I hope, for the sake of your people and your mouth you make this incredible pie… you guys there’s cheese in the crust. Maple Hill Creamery, 100% grass-fed CHEESE. It’s pretty amaze. More below.

Love you friends.

tart apple pie with a hint of cheddar crust 

adapted from Blackbirds Pie and Sam Sifton 

My mom is not a crust person, but she loved this crust so much she congratulated me on how delicious it was. If that’s not high praise I don’t know what is. The Maple Hill Creamery cheese is what makes this crust amazing. It’s just enough to make people pause and say WHY is this crust so good? And you can tell them, it’s the cheese. See where to buy the best-grass-fed-cheddar-ever, using their store locator, here.

for the crust:

2 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

1/4 cup Maple Hill Creamery one year cheddar cheese, shredded 

1 cup cold water

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup ice

Sift the flour, salt, and sugar together in a food processor. Add the butter pieces and shredded cheese and pulse briefly, until you achieve pea-sized pieces of butter. Careful not to over mix.

Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of this ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and pulse until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Take the dough out of the processor at this point and work the dough with your hands, adding small drops of the ice water mixture as you see fit, until it’s all combined. Work the dough until just combined. You should see faint marble ribbons of butter in your dough.  

Then divide the dough into two flat discs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let them sit for at least one hour, but preferably over night, in the refrigerator. 

tip! If wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.

for the filling: (I made this one day ahead of time)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ½ pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges (3 large granny smiths and 2 large honeycrisps)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons tapioca starch or cornstarch 

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 egg, lightly beaten

turbinado sugar for sprinkling, optional

Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add your apples to the pan. Stir to coat the apples with butter and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. While the apples cook, whisk together the cinnamon, salt and ¾ cup sugar and then sprinkle this mixture over the apples, stirring to combine.

Lower your heat and continue to cook the apples until they start to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Your house should smell amazing at this point.) Sprinkle the flour and tapioca (or corn) starch over the apples and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, add cider vinegar, stir and scrape apple mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely. I made my filling one day ahead of time, stored it in the refrigerator and then brought it to room temperature the next day before placing it in the pie shell. 

To bake: 

Place a large baking sheet on the middle rack of oven and preheat to 425° F / 220° C. Take one disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 12 inches / 30cm in diameter. Fit this crust into a 9-inch pie dish, pressing down so there are no air bubbles. Crimp and form the edges of your pie with the overhanging dough and pop pie shell in the freezer for about 5-10 mins. Take the pie out of the freezer and fill with your cooled filling. Set aside.

Roll out the remaining dough (this is the top of the pie) on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 10 or 11 inches / 25 or 28cm in diameter. Cut this dough however you’d like (I chose to make a lattice) laying your design over the pie filling and pressing the edges of the top of your pie crust with the bottom of the pie crust with your fingers. Make sure your pie crust top has a way for steam to escape - so if it’s a solid top, cut a few slits in the top. 

Lightly brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Place pie in the oven, on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 375° F / 190° C. Cover pie with a loose tent of tin foil to prevent over-browning and continue to cook until the interior of the pie is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes more.

Allow the pie to cool for about 2 hours before cutting and serving. (If you can wait that long.)  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and a generous wedge of cheddar cheese.  

grass-fed dairy: has an uncannily higher amount of Omega-3 fatty acids opposed to cows that are fed corn + grains. Cows are not made to eat corn or grain, they're made to eat grass, which means you're actually getting the health benefits you need (and nature intended!) when you choose grass-fed dairy.  I talk a lot more about the awesome benefits of eating whole dairy, and avoiding "low fat or non fat dairy" here. 

This post was sponsored by Maple Hill Creamery, but all opinions are my own. Thank you friends, for supporting the sponsors that support Sweetish.co. xox

warm applesauce muffins with almond oat topping {vegan + gluten free}

I think it’s really funny that I thought I could get anything done with a newborn babe. Really funny. When pregnant I totally pictured myself baking and setting up our new home while Myles napped.

LOL. 

The kitchen sink very much reflects life at the moment: there are lots of little plastic bottles and tiny yellow lids piled high along with my breast pump “phonographs” (my brother saw those and said, "Oh these are so people can hear your breasts better right?" Yes, exactly.), bread crumb-filled plates and chocolate rimmed mugs. (I eat a lot of cold toast and lukewarm cocoa). 

I haven’t washed my hair in a week, I’m still wearing maternity leggings and it’s a good day if I get to eat anything before 1pm, take a shower or get more than 2 hours of sleep. 

There's no sense of routine yet but this week we’ve worked hard on trying to stretch out longer between feedings and it’s made us both cry. We dance a lot to the Avett Brothers and the Lumineers to stretch time. He seems to really like the song “I and Love and You" and “The Candidate”. I can’t help but smile and shake my head at the sight of me dancing with a cozy, burrito-wrapped baby - my messy hair, naked face and a spit-up stained baggy shirt that hides my chubby tummy. These are the parts of life no one talks about, but they’re the best parts I think.

I didn’t realize that having a new babe would mean you cry a lot, sometimes out of sheer exhaustion or because you have no idea what to do and he won't stop crying, but mostly because you didn't know it was possible to love a tiny human you barely even know, so much. 

I also didn’t realize those first few weeks, you pretty much never eat - let alone get to eat anything WARM. If I have another granola bar it will be too soon. When my mom stayed with me she made me warm scrambled eggs for breakfast and hot pasta for dinner and it was heaven. 

I could really use a good warm muffin right now … so here you go, warm applesauce muffins for you. Yes, they’re vegan and gluten free but don’t tell anyone. Sometimes people frown at that and automatically write them off as “un-delicious” ;) but I assure you, these are worth making. Come over and make them for me?

Love you friend. xo  

 

warm applesauce muffins with almond oat topping {vegan + gluten free}

makes about 12 regular-sized muffins 

This was the last thing I officially baked before Myles came into the world. :) 

bakers note: The flavor of buckwheat flour and apples are a match made in heaven, but sometimes the buckwheat flour alone can be a little strong, so I've mixed it with other gluten-free flours to soften it up.  Also homemade applesauce makes these muffs completely amazing, but I wouldn't be discouraged if you're using store bought applesauce - just buy the best quality you can afford and add a pinch of cinnamon, orange and lemon zest to it. xo 

3 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

½ cup / 64g all purpose gluten free flour (I like Bob's.) 

½ cup / 83g brown rice flour 

½ cup / 60g buckwheat flour 

½ teaspoon salt 

¼ cup / 21g whole rolled oats

1 ½ cups / 382g applesauce 

½ cup / 105g coconut oil, melted and cooled

¼ cup / 85g maple syrup

½ cup / 110g brown sugar 

 

Topping: 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl until almonds and oats are evenly coated. Set aside.

⅓ cup / 35g sliced almonds 

¼ cup / 21g rolled oats

Pinch of kosher salt 

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup  

 

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Line regular size muffin tin with liners and set aside. 

Measure and whisk together all dry ingredients in a bowl (flours, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, rolled oats). Set aside. 

In an electric mixer, stir applesauce, brown sugar and maple syrup all together. Next add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined. 

Slowly add in your cooled, but melted coconut oil and stir on low until just combined.

Scoop batter in prepared muffin tin and top with oat + almond mixture. Be generous with the topping. 

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Serve warm. They'll keep for a couple of days, wrapped up tight and stored in the fridge. 

 Did you know? When baked, buckwheat flour makes baked goods look chocolatey, but it doesn't taste chocolatey at all! How's that for a trick-or-treat? 

meet our Myles

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. From the time I played house with my younger brothers to the time I was deciding on a college major; I’ve always felt my whole life has revolved around this one hope: that I wanted to be a mom someday. 

And now it’s real. 

Now I’m a mom. 

As soon as the doctor delivered Myles into my arms set him on my chest at the wee hours of the morning, it felt real... and completely surreal at the same time.

To me, birth is a juxtaposition of things. It’s beautiful and ugly. It’s quiet and loud. It’s funny and sacred. It’s incredibly slow and incredibly fast. It’s expected and completely unexpected.

It started out completely unexpected when I went into the hospital for a routine heart monitor check. Something doctors do when you’re pregnant past your due date just to make sure everything is still okay in there. 

I was grumbly about this extra visit to the hospital. It seemed superfluous. Especially since this routine check-up was just days before my induction date. Time was more precious than usual for me and this visit just seemed to waste some of it.

I’d been sitting in a reclined chair with heart monitors strapped to my tummy for over an hour when the nurse came back in and showed me a dip in my charts. 

“See that?” She said, “That’s a contraction. You’re going to have a baby.”

I stared in disbelief and said, “Like, right now?!” 

And she said, “Yes. I’ve been talking to a doctor down in labor and delivery and we’d like to admit you now and not have you wait any longer to have this baby.” 

I almost burst into tears but instead I just sat there in the chair for a second digesting what was about to happen.

And then I called John, “Don’t panic but we’re going to have a baby right now.” John laughed in disbelief and showed up in a jiffy with our hospital bag, camera and snacks. I don’t think I’d ever been more happy to see him. 

My labor was over 36 hours and I pushed longer than any other birth story I’ve ever heard. So friend, if you’ve had to push a long time during your first birth, I feel you. 

Giving birth is such a personal thing. To me, there are fewer things that bring you closer to your husband or God than bringing a life into this world. I’ve never felt so strong, humbled, loved or felt I had so much purpose than after bringing this little babe into the world. I never felt so indebted to John or the incredible nurses and doctor surrounding me. I never appreciated purple popsicles, or sugar-packed sprite with cranberry juice, epidurals or the words “Breathe! Push! You’re doing amazing!" and "He’s almost here Robyn, He’s almost here!", more. 

After hours of labor and while we were waiting for contractions to speed up so I could push more, the doctors bugged me and John about what our new son would be called. “Come on guys, it’s time to decide!” We told them our top three names and told them Myles was probably our favorite. The nurses started cheering for Myles to come on out and I swear after hours and hours of pushing, he finally came when we called him by name. I’ve never loved the sound of a tiny cry more. 

A few hours after Myles was born I turned to John with tears streaming down my face (hormones) and said, “I just love him so much. Let’s have another one.” And John laughed out loud and said, “I’m putting this on record. I think you may be the only woman in the world who wants to have another child so quickly after birth.” 

But it made sense to me because like I've told you, I’ve always wanted to be a mom. ;)

Love you friends. Thank you for being patient with me as I settle into this new role. I see why new moms don’t cook and praise the Lord when they can finally take a shower. I get it. I finally get it. This new life is wonderful and exhausting and I’m trying to soak up every beautiful, messy minute of it, but I promise, there’s more to come. xo